When a group of illustrious playwrights, including George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, and Eugene O’Neill, gathered to form the Dramatists Guild over a century ago—the nation's first and only trade association for American theatre writers—they held one ideal paramount: copyright. They believed that authors should maintain the legal rights to their own work. In maintaining their own copyrights, authors could control the creative life of their material. They could choose their own producers, their own directors, and their own casts, and no changes could be lawfully made in production without their explicit consent.
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