Translation Adaptation Cover Artwork: Dried vegetation - such as bark, roots, and seeds - partly framed on a wall.
The Business Side of Adaptations
Pile of Paper

John Dietrich: When an artist or writer is considering doing an adaptation what do you feel is the biggest challenge, right off the bat?

Ralph Sevush: First you have to determine the status of the work you want to adapt. Is it in the public domain? That’s your best-case scenario and then there aren’t many remaining legal issues. If it’s still protected abroad and only in the public domain here, then there are some issues depending on how much international use you expect to have for your work. But assuming the work is still protected in the US, it is then about identifying the parties that control that work. 

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Ralph Sevush, Esq.
Ralph Sevush, Esq.

is an entertainment attorney. He’s been with the Dramatists Guild of America since 1997, and their Co-Executive Director and general counsel since June 2005. He is the Treasurer for the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund.

John Dietrich
John Dietrich

has spent a majority of his career as a director and choreographer on hundreds of theatrical projects, including a seventeen-year relationship with Radio City Music Hall that involved creating new numbers for the Rockettes, directing special events, and four years as the director and choreographer for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Recently he has expanded into writing and is concluding his MFA studies in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing at NYU.