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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Can I Do That?

When can my students perform copyrighted material in a classroom setting?

Can I Do That - A Helpful Guide to Performing Plays and Musicals in a Classroom or an Educational Environment

Can I Do That? A Helpful Guide to Performing Plays and Musicals in a Classroom or an Educational Environment is presented by the Dramatists Guild Education Committee. The committee seeks to help educators teach and present theatrical works, as well as to educate the public about the theatre writers who create these shows.

I want to read a play out loud in class, or have my students do scenes as part of their acting class. Do I need a license to perform copyrighted material in my classroom?  

No! It’s generally fine to perform or display most copyrighted material without a license for in-person and distance learning, provided that it is for educational purposes only and that all of the proper protocols under the Section 110 Copyright Act are followed, including the legal procurement of the copyrighted materials. 

 

I want to invite parents to watch the scenes and songs that my students have been working on in class. Do I need a license for that?  

Yes! Once an audience is invited, even if it is the parents of the students in the class, it transforms the use from educational to entertainment; a license is required from the author or from their publisher.  

 

I want to invite students from a different class to watch the scenes and songs that my students are working on in class. Do I need a license for that? 

Yes! Once an audience is invited, even if it is students at the school from a different class, it transforms the use from educational to entertainment; a license is required from the author or from their publisher. 

 

I want to stream and/or record the scenes/monologues/songs that my students are performing in class, so that their parents and other students at the school can see it. Do I need a license for that?  

Yes! If you want to stream or record copyrighted material, so that it can be shown to people outside of the classroom, then you will need permission and a license from the author or from their publisher. You should note, however, that in a classroom setting, if you are using the material in accordance with Section 110(2) of the Copyright Act, then you may stream limited portions of the material for distance educational purposes.  However, as noted under the Act, that stream can only be available to the students who are enrolled in the class; any recordings would run afoul of the guidelines set forth in the Act.  

 

I am mounting a production of a play or musical at our school, but we are not charging admission for the performance. Do I need a license for that?  

Yes! Any time an audience is invited, even if there is no charge for admission, a license is required from the author or from their publisher.  

 

I am mounting a production of a play or musical at our school but only students and faculty at the school are permitted to attend. Do I need a license for that?  

Yes! If you are performing portions (or even all) of a play or musical to an audience, regardless of whether that audience consists only of students at the school, it still requires a license from the author or from their publisher.  

 

I am mounting a production of a play or musical at our school, and I would like to record or stream performances, so that parents and other family members who can’t attend are able to see it. Do I need a license for that?  

Yes! You cannot stream or record a production without authorization from the author or from their publisher. Please note that a publisher may not have the power to grant streaming/recording rights; all permissions must come from the author.


Read more or download Can I Do That? A Helpful Guide to Performing Plays and Musicals in a Classroom or an Educational Environment.