Important Information About Streaming and Licensing Live Theater Performances
Some industries are starting to return to “business as usual” amidst the pandemic. However, some industries will remain changed because of COVID. One of these is live theater.
Even with some shows reopening and offering live performances again, there are still safeguards, social distancing, and other factors to consider. As a result, theater professionals, producers, and creators have to find inventive ways to monetize the work they do and keep the theater alive even with the new legal challenges present.
Unlike television or film entertainment, the live theater is just that – live. This means it is dependent on a live audience. However, while people remain at home, it doesn’t mean the theater has to die. With some help from an entertainment attorney, it may be possible to provide shows and experiences via live stream.
Streaming Theater Performances
Even though most stage productions are not designed to be seen on-screen, those creative minds in the industry have been finding ways to perform live and take advantage of online streaming.
While this is a viable option, as John Branca, an entertainment attorney, explains, there are some licensing things to consider.
Streaming Rights for Life Theater Performances
Before the COVID pandemic, platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Broadway HD were streaming recorded theater performances, along with some musical films, that attracted dedicated theater-goers who wanted to watch their favorite performances over and over again. After the pandemic, these services became popular for those who were casual theater fans, too.
If you decide to stream a production, it is necessary to balance the necessity of appealing to a large audience and bring in money and meet the requirements of all licensing and copyright requirements in place.
Getting the Needed Streaming Rights
Similar to the licensing process used for other mediums, the performances of musicals and plays typically require approval from the author to help avoid cases of infringement. Usually, the rights required are called underlying rights. This includes the rights to the copyrighted work, including the characters, storyline, dialogue, songs, and more. Usually, the underlying rights include life rights, grand rights, trademarks, and copyrights.
If you are unsure how to get the required permissions and rights for the theater performance you are interested in live streaming, speaking with an entertainment attorney is a smart move. They can help ensure you follow the rules and that no issues arise because of the stream of the performance you offer to the public.