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What should I do if someone performs or changes a play, musical, or devised work without permission?

Your work cannot be performed without your permission. And it is never okay for someone to change your words, lyrics, or notes, without your approval.  This rule applies whether the desired alteration is a significant change to the text, such as rearranging scenes, adding lines, cutting an entire monologue, or removing an explicit word. It also applies to changing the setting or casting requirements. Casting requirements and settings are a part of an author’s work; if any defining...
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Pirated Scripts on Ebay - How DG Defended Your Copyright

Back in April, a Guild member contacted the BA HelpDesk to alert us to what appeared to be pirated libretti and scripts (many of which were written by DG members) that were being sold on eBay by a highly rated seller. The Guild's Business Affairs team investigated the matter; it was determined that many (if not all) of these scripts and libretti were likely being sold without the author's permission,  potentially infringing upon the...
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Where Should I File My Copyright Claim?

If you have a claim under copyright law, you may want to consider filing it with the Copyright Claims Board rather than in federal court. The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act of 2020 is a recent federal law that established the Copyright Claims Board (“CCB”). The CCB is a voluntary arbitration procedure within the Copyright Office that offers copyright owners an alternative to bringing a claim in federal court.  Before the establishment of the CCB...
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How To Resolve Copyright Disputes: A Q&A on the new Copyright Claims Board and The CASE Act

Discover how to bring your copyright claims to the new Copyright Claims Board, established by The CASE Act!  Wednesday, May 18 Atlantic Time: 2pm Eastern Time: 1pm Central Time: 12pm Mountain Time: 11am Pacific Time: 10am In 2020, Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act, otherwise known as the CASE Act. It established a small claims court-type tribunal within the U.S. Copyright Office - known...
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Copyright Awareness Week April 25-April 29

The Copyright Advocacy Committee is gearing up for Copyright Awareness Week 2022, which kicks off on Monday, April 25. What is Copyright? Copyright is to writers what patents are to inventors. When you create original written material, whether it’s a play, musical, libretto, lyric, or song, you automatically own that copyright. Your work is protected by your copyright, which is what gives you the ability to negotiate...
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How the New Supreme Court Ruling on Copyright Benefits Dramatists

What Happens if I Make a Mistake When Registering My Copyright? On February 24th, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the Unicolors v. H&M case which will help allay one of the fears many of our members have when submitting an application for copyright registration: making a mistake! For a little background, Unicolors sued H&M for copyright infringement. H&M sought to invalidate Unicolors’ copyright...
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New Works Now In The Public Domain By Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Dorothy Parker, and More

January 1, 2022 was Public Domain Day, the day each year when copyrights expire and new works enter the public domain. The “Progress Clause” of the U.S. Constitution established the legal basis for federal copyright law, and it did so in order to encourage the progress of our society, to incentivize the creation of new works that would eventually enrich the public ​domain and be accessible to everyone. So each work entering the public domain is an example of...
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How Does The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (The CASE Act) Help Writers?

The Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (the CASE Act) was signed into law in 2020, with the support of the Dramatists Guild. It establishes a small claims court-type tribunal within the United States Copyright Office that allows copyright owners (like dramatists) to bring claims in a less expensive and more efficient way.  The Case Act allows the Copyright Office to establish a Copyright Claims Board (the “CCB”) that can hear infringement claims up to $30,...
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New Works Now In The Public Domain By F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, and More

January 1, 2021 was Public Domain day. On that historic date, many new titles entered the public domain, including works by literary luminaries that had all been copyrighted in 1925; that copyright has now expired. The works in question include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and Alain Locke's The New Negro, which features essays by Zora Neal Hurston...
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Public Domain Update: Tom Lehrer's Lyrics

#DGuknow that Tom Lehrer's lyrics are now all in the public domain? The songwriter Tom Lehrer recently posted on his website that "all the lyrics on this website, whether published or unpublished, copyrighted or uncopyrighted, may be downloaded and used in any manner. whatsoever, without requiring any further permission from me or payment to me or to anyone else." The Dramatists Guild supports a robust public domain, especially...