Licensing & Copyright

Any performance of a work under copyright for an audience must be licensed, regardless of whether or not admission is charge, the performance is public or private, or for or not for profit.

Why do I need to license my production?

Licensing your shows ensures that playwrights and composers are being fairly compensated for the use of their work.

What is a theatrical license?

A theatrical license gives you permission to perform a live theatrical production of a play or musical that someone else wrote. Theatrical productions requiring a license include elementary, middle, and high school productions, community theater, off-broadway, and broadway productions.

Do you need a theatrical license?

Whenever you perform a live theatrical production, you will need a theatrical license directly from the copyright holder or their agency.

A theatrical license is required no matter how small a portion you use. There are some exceptions where a theatrical license is not required: You don’t need a theatrical license for songs or shows that you wrote yourself or songs that are in the public domain.

Who gets paid?

A theatrical license pays a royalty to the copyright holder of the play or musical. This is typically the writer or their publisher.

How do you get a theatrical license?

Fill out our licensing form for any production you want to stage and submit it to us.

When should you have your theatrical licensing in place?

Theatrical licenses must be secured before public display of the production. We suggest making your request at least two months before your anticipated production date.

When happens if you don’t get a license?

Publishers, agents, and writers’ lawyers actively seek out copyright violators. The result can be permanent damage to your reputation, stopping of the production, and in some cases legal action. Will you get caught? Maybe. Maybe not. But there are many more reasons to do things right than just the fear of getting caught.

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