Copyright & Royalty Resources

Online Help & Guidance
Where to go for more information

A copyrighted play usually is offered as a licensed property. If you wish to produce a play protected by copyright, you apply for a license--in essence, paying the publisher/agent (and thus the playwright) for performances of the play. These payments are referred to as "royalties," and producing a copyrighted work requires permission and/or payment of royalties. This includes not only plays and musicals, but background music used in a production or performed on stage as part of a play. This is true whether you charge admission or not, and whether you are a for-profit or not-for-profit theatre or a school.

Useful Articles on the Web

Online Reference Sites

  • U.S. Copyright Office

  • Copyright Office FAQ

  • Search U.S. Copyright Records

  • Duration of Copyright [U.S. Copyright Office]

  • Dramatists Guild Bill of Rights

  • Music Licensing Terminology [ASCAP]

  • Music Licenses & Copyrights []

  • Licensing & Royalty Examples

  • Anchorage Press

  • Dramatic Publishing, Inc.

  • Music Theatre International

  • Pioneer Drama, Inc.

  • Samuel French, Inc.

  • NOTE: The above is a representative sampling only, since not all publishers post details on their websites.



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