Saturday, March 10, 2018

On Royalties

(Pay for the) Work!
One high school in Indonesia did what every high school in America is waiting patiently to do until rights are available, they mounted a fully-realized production of Hamilton.

It might be easy to throw up your hands and say, what are ya gonna do? The creators of Hamilton have made their nut many times over, and anyway it can be challenging to enforce copyright in a foreign land and besides, it's done.

Dismissing an outright crime aside, this happens all the time to the less-know writers of less-known works, all across this country. I am constantly amazed by drama directors in American schools who believe they can cut corners from their admittedly meager budgets by cheating the playwright -- either by not paying royalties at all, or lying about how many performances are being produced.

Perhaps they believe they are cheating a non-person, like a faceless publishing company, unaware of the fact that with many rights management agencies the performance fee goes in large part to the playwright. The person who is being cheated is the writer whose name is on the script.

Perhaps they believe if they do not charge admission, they shouldn't have to pay royalties. That's like saying because I'm giving away the cookies, I can just steal the ingredients.

For the non-Lin-Manuel Mirandas of the world, the royalties from every performance are important. That's our income. I support the arts in schools, it's my life's work. But everyone must be paid.

Secure the rights. Pay the royalties. All the royalties.

An Indonesian School Produced 'Hamilton' Last Year and No One Noticed Until Now, by Chris Peterson, OnStage Blog (3/7/2018)

No comments:

Post a Comment