Video Recording Theatre

Video Recording In Theatre

by Andrea Emmerton

I recently had a request from a community group that wanted to know if there was a video-tape of a production that was part of a Theatre Ontario Festival.  I explained that video-taping is not allowed under copyright laws.  I then read an article in the Scarborough Music Theatre’s newsletter where the Board of SMT had gone to a lot of effort to find information on the issue of making an archival tape for their own records. I thought I would share the information with you.  SMT contacted Tams-Witmark, Music Theatre International, Samuel French and Rogers & Hammerstein and they were reminded that when a contract is signed, a commitment is made that a show will not be recorded.

The relevant section from the current Music Theatre Contract Performance License:

3. Recording/Reproduction (Audio, Video, Computer Sequencing, etc.)

a. Recording:  This license does not allow you to make and/or distribute a mechanical recording (rehearsal, performance and/or archival) of the Play or any portion of it by any means whatsoever, including, but not limited to, audiocassette, video, film and digital sequencing.

b. Broadcast:  This license does not allow you to broadcast, televise and/or electronically post on the Internet any part of the Play, either audio or visual or both, including musical selections.

Many thanks to Herschel Rosen for this informative article.

(Updated 2009 by Brandon Moore)

Filming brief clips of productions for promotional purposes can be arranged by contacting the rights-holder.  Typically, they will refer you to the author’s agent as most theatre rights agencies do not deal with “film and video” rights.

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