Cover art of the Radical Hospitality Issue: an illustration of a headless person writing at their desk with multiple faces in boxes floating around where their head would be.
From the Desk of the DGCM: Who Do I Leave My Intellectual Property To?

icon questions

At DG©M we are honored by the growing number of authors who have inquired about and enrolled in our program. When I reflect upon our dramatists, I always think of Anne Hanley, who was one of the very first authors to enroll with us. I have often wondered what made Anne decide to trust her work and her legacy to a new company with (at the time) very little track record. In her own words. - 

Executive Director,

Dramatists Guild Copyright Management


Idread the once-in-a-decade chore of revising my will. I’ve already dealt with the easy parts: the money and the stuff. The real stumbling block, which I punted from last decade to this decade, is what to do with my intellectual property.

Should I leave it to my children? They have busy lives of their own and no interest or expertise in the performing arts. I don’t want to create a beyond-the-grave guilt-trip for me and a headache for them. What about designating Literary Executor? The only good candidate I can come up with has serious health problems and a volatile disposition. How to motivate him? How to compensate? All I can see is risk for me and a potential nuisance for my kids.

I’m about to punt again when I see a little item on the DG website about something called DG Copyright Management, Inc., a public benefit corporation, created by the Dramatists Guild to deal with the intellectual property of deceased Guild members. Do they really mean if I bequeath copyright(s) for my play(s) to the Guild and DG©M accepts my enrollment, they will use their considerable resources and expertise to promote my work after my demise? It appears that’s exactly what they mean.

They say their goal is to “protect my authorial intent.” Really? Someone actually cares about my legacy (almost) as much as I do? It goes on to say authorial decisions will be made by the Guild Council. Excellent! The Guild Council is made up of playwrights at every career stage and covers the whole spectrum of diversity. But they have one thing in common: They are all playwrights who know how to a make killing and a living in theatre. Good people to have working for you, even if you are dead. But here’s the real clincher for me: Any profits they make from my work will go to support playwrights. WIN! WIN! WIN!

DG©M, where have you been all my life? Wish I could stick around to see how it all comes out.

Anne Hanley

was named Alaska Writer Laureate 2002-2004, the only playwright to receive such an honor. Her play The Winter Bear, tells the story of an Athabascan teenager who is contemplating suicide when he is sentenced to cut wood for Koyukon Athabascan elder Sidney Huntington. You can learn more about Anne and The Winter Bear at