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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Again: Author's Rights

The Dramatists Guild Of America just reminded me of its Bill of Rights. Any contract that appears to limit, circumvent, or diverge from these rights should be amended or avoided. For example, the director must not have control over the artistic elements of the musical's libretto or music and must not be permitted to exclude the playwright from the production process. This violates two well-established rights. First, the author has the “right to be present” at all casting and rehearsal sessions, as well as all previews and performances of the show.  The playwright does not need permission from the director or any other person to be involved with his or her creation. Second, playwrights are entitled to mutual approval with the Producer over the cast, director, choreographer, conductor, orchestrator, arranger, musical director, and designer of a show, including their replacements.  This is called “artistic approval.” These rights are based in the U.S. Constitution, the Copyright Act, case law, and centuries of industry practice.

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