Ralph Sevush
Ralph Sevush
Mar 24, 2020
On Live Streaming

Theatre companies that wish to livestream their productions need to find an accommodation with the various theatrical unions involved and adhere to all CDC protocols and local guidelines for the safety of their companies.

With regard to our members, authors have the right to approve livestreaming and/or recording of their shows. The Guild encourages you to exercise those approvals only after due consideration of such safety concerns, as well as other factors, like appropriate remuneration and the protection of your work against piracy.

While we believe this difficult time offers a unique opportunity for dramatists to embrace new technology and bring theatre to an even larger audience, you need to be properly advised before you permit your work to be livestreamed or recorded. This applies not only to new productions that have been cancelled or postponed, but also to the licensed productions of your work in theatres and schools, both professional and non-professional, across the country. 

If you are a writer or a composer, it is important to contact your agent and your publisher to explore how they are handling livestream requests and how your income might be affected.

Things to think about:

  • What is the publisher's cancellation policy for licensees? 
  • What happens when a licensed play or musical is postponed, rather than cancelled?
  • Are you willing to pre-approve the addition of temporary live-streaming rights to your performance rights license?
  • How is the work being live-streamed? Will it be recorded? Will it have proper protections against piracy?
  • If a livestream request is made, how will the publisher notify you?
  • What process is in place to ensure that you are paid for each livestream of your work?
  • In terms of the impact on the future of your work, what are the distinctions between livestreaming a production and recording a production for subsequent viewing?

Please use the BA Help Desk if you have any further questions, or would like to log a complaint.

Ralph Sevush
Executive Director, Business Affairs

DG COVID-19 Resource Page

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