Re: Performance taping copyright question

Kevin Furniss (
Sun, 22 Jul 2001 08:59:59 -0700 (PDT)

Gena Zelenka wrote:

> Good Morning! I have a copyright question that's not quite what I see
> you all usually dealing with but was hoping I might get some advice
> with re: the taping of an actor (non-union) here at my library. We
> are paying him a fee. We would like to tape him for our Library Cable
> Network channel which airs over cable TV on a government/educational
> channel here in Illinois. We will own the rights to the taped program.
> He will receive a copy for his personal use. He will be giving a
> dramatic reading performance of a James M. Cain and Dashiell Hammett
> short story.Do I need to get permission to do this? If so, do I have
> to it through the publisher or estate? Has anyone ever done this?

Hi Gena,

Yes, you absolutely need permission to do this. (In a previous job I
used to secure permissions to reproduce printed material.)

I think the best place to start is through the rights and permissions
dept. of the publishers of the editions you're using. Make your initial
contact directly, by phone. (If you send a letter it could take forever
to get to the right person.) Tell the person there that the reading is
for a non-profit cable broadcast, and that you have no intention of
selling or otherwise making any kind of profit from the broadcast
(assuming that's true). They'll know what kind of questions to ask
regarding use of the material. They should then be able to tell you if
they have the rights, or, if not, who does. Once you know who has the
rights you need to get a letter of permission from them. Even though
it's for a non-profit entity, it could still cost you some money. But
the important point to hammer home is that you have no plans to charge
for this, or to take in advertising revenue or the like from the
broadcast. Then it is essential that you get a letter of permission
from the rights holder(s) to allow you to perform and broadcast the
work. The letter should specific about what you are allowed to do.

If anyone has better advice/more recent experience please feel free to
chime in and correct me.



Kevin A. Furniss
Cataloging/Systems Support Librarian
William Howard Doane Library
Denison University
Box L
Granville, OH 43023
(v) 740.587.6620
(f) 740.587.6285