Performing songs from Broadway Musicals - License needed?

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kcowolf
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Performing songs from Broadway Musicals - License needed?

Postby kcowolf » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:28 am

I'm sorry if this isn't really appropriate for this forum, but I'm hoping someone here has had some experience with this.

We're considering having an activity where members of the ward would perform songs from a number of Broadway musicals. A question came up about whether we'd need a license to perform these songs and what license(s) we would need. We're also curious about how the situation changes if we charge for the event or not. The ward is in the United States.

If anyone has any information, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:57 am

This is outside of the expertise I'd expect to see in the forum, but you might get lucky. I've been exposed to this only in passing, but I believe the answers are yes and probably. I don't know much beyond that.

You may want to start your research by Googling "performance license".
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lajackson
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Postby lajackson » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:14 pm

kcowolf wrote:We're considering having an activity where members of the ward would perform songs from a number of Broadway musicals. A question came up about whether we'd need a license to perform these songs and what license(s) we would need. We're also curious about how the situation changes if we charge for the event or not. The ward is in the United States.


Our school attorney has always said that if you are just singing the song, you are ok, but if you are performing the song in a setting similar to the original stage presentation, you have to get permission. In his opinion, a similar setting includes stage scenery. It is ok to dress up in something simple that you might already have at home and sing a related song.

In our ward, you would not have to worry about the situation changing if you charge for the event, because our bishop cannot envision a way under the current financial guidelines where charging would be allowed.

It is my understanding that if you charge, you need licenses to perform the songs. Licenses come from the copyright owner.

techgy
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Postby techgy » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:40 pm

kcowolf wrote:I'm sorry if this isn't really appropriate for this forum, but I'm hoping someone here has had some experience with this.

We're considering having an activity where members of the ward would perform songs from a number of Broadway musicals. A question came up about whether we'd need a license to perform these songs and what license(s) we would need. We're also curious about how the situation changes if we charge for the event or not. The ward is in the United States.

If anyone has any information, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.


Many years ago our stake decided to put on a concert which the public was invited to. I don't recall the purpose behind it, but I do recall that no fee was charged for the event and that it was broadcast over a local cable company's public broadcast channel.

To be on the safe side, as I was the producer, I wrote to the copyright holders of all of the songs, explained what we had intended to do, and received back a written authorization to perform the song as long as no fees were charge and no-one received any monetary gain.

I cannot state from a position of authority and I do not speak for any of the brethren. I can only state what we did as a stake. The copyright holders were very helpful but it did take a couple of weeks to get a response.
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kinggrunt-p40
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Postby kinggrunt-p40 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:41 pm

Can you explain exactly what you mean. It sounds like you are having a ward activity, where people perfom musicals, and you would like to charge for it?

More information, and i can help you with this. We have done a lot of musicals, plays, stage panto's over many years.

kcowolf
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Postby kcowolf » Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:22 am

The ward has put on musicals in the past (before I moved in), but the new bishop was a bit concerned at how expensive the licensing fee was to perform a musical (not to mention materials for sets and costumes), so we're looking at this as an alternative.

We would be performing songs from musicals (instead of a musical in its entirety). We haven't decided yet whether or not we would charge people to see it, so we were wondering how that would affect the situation with licensing.

Thanks for the feedback so far, everyone. It is very helpful.


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