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   Author  Topic: Play  (Read 156 times)
Philip Kouyoumdjian
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Play
« on: Dec 2nd, 2005, 3:34pm »
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I represent a public school district where an original play was written and performed by two teachers and an number of students.  The students and teachers created the play as part of a class' curriculum.  This class was sanctioned by the public school district.
 
The play was performed in the public school by the same teachers and students.  Admission was charged to the audience to watch the play.  The profits from the play went to the school district.
 
A former student who saw the play but had nothing to do with its creation has asked the school district if he could publish it.  
 
Q 1:  Who currently owns the rights to the play?  The school district?  The teachers?  The teachers and students?  (The teachers are employees of the school district.)
 
Q 2:  How would the rights to the play be assigned to the former student who wants to publish it?  Who would have to sign off on the assignment?  The school district? the teachers?  The teachers and students?
 
NB:  No copyright has been registered for the play.
 
Any help on these questions would be greatly appreciated.
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: Play
« Reply #1 on: Dec 2nd, 2005, 7:02pm »
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The copyright in the play would belong to the writers assuming that they fixed their work in a tangible medium.
The teachers (or their employers if the work for hire criteria are met) would likely share the copyright with the students.
 
Registration is irrelevant as is the fact that the play has been performed unless the idea is to sell a tape of the performance.
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Isaac
saffin
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Re: Play
« Reply #2 on: Dec 7th, 2005, 8:57am »
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Interesting question.  I have a similar issue.
 
Isaac, assuming the play is fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  Assuming also the teachers created the play in the course and scope of their employment for the school district.  That means that the school district is considered to be at least one of the authors of the play.  
 
What about the students, though?  Are they considered employees who acted in the course and scope of their employment when they authored the work?  Or are they co-owners of the copyright in the play along with the school district?
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Isaac
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Re: Play
« Reply #3 on: Dec 7th, 2005, 12:45pm »
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IMO it is not likely that the students can be considered employees or that they have signed an agreement transferring their rights to the school system.   I think the most likely scenario is that the students are joint owners with the school district given your assumptions.
 
Is so, if the school district wanted to allow the exploitation of the work an a non fee basis, I don't believe the students would have the right to prevent such exploitation. however if a fee were charged, the school district would have to share the profits with the students.
 
Or at least that's my take on it.
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Isaac
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