Copyright and Content Guidance

Are you considering bringing your event to the PAC stage? Here are some things to consider first.

Copyrights: The Performance Of Any Material Requires Permission From The Rights Holders. 

Have you secured permission from the appropriate rights holders to:

  • Perform the music, play, or musical to be presented?
  • Make any changes to these performance materials? and/or
  • Record or offer your performance virtually (live-streamed and/or on-demand)?

Some rights-holders will allow their material to be performed as long as no admission is charged, while others will charge a fee regardless of admission cost. Additionally, some rights holders will allow their material to be performed as long as materials for each participant are purchased through them.

Can changes be made to the material? Can an audio/video recording (DVD) be made of the material? Can it be simulcast (live-streamed) or distributed digitally at a later date (on demand)? How are the authors and/or the rights-holders to be credited? Do you have permission to add additional material (songs, logos, etc.) not covered by your agreement with them? All of these questions should be addressed before your facility request can be processed.

Check the fine print: all of these permissions are typically covered in the fine print on the first page[s] of the sheet music or script you are considering. If you cannot find any guidance or the fine print is confusing, contact the rights holder to ensure what you are and are not allowed to do with the performance material.

Worst Case Scenarios:

  • A student has a “Best of Broadway” songbook at home and wants to sing “Memory” from Cats, and instead of having piano accompaniment, she plans to use a performance track (i.e., karaoke track). Both sources (the songbook and the CD) are most likely intended for personal “home use” only — not for public performance.
  • Ten years ago, a choral director got permission to perform a piece of music while employed in another school district. This year, that choral director, now teaching in a new school system, finds that song in their files and decides to have their new choir perform that song, so they make 30 copies of it to pass out, and the students perform it that spring. Firstly, most rights holders strongly frown upon copying music (yes, we all know this is done all the time, but the fact remains). Secondly, permission to perform this song must be re-secured for the new school system.

Content: Consider Your Participants And Know Your Audience. 

Have you addressed any potentially dangerous or offensive content in your planned performance?

Suppose your performance contains potentially offensive language, weapons, violence, substance abuse, and/or anything of a sexual nature. If that’s the case, this should be communicated through audition notices, marketing materials, lobby cards, and/or your event’s printed and/or digital program to:

  • Any potential participants before they commit to performing; and
  • Your possible audience as part of your ticket purchasing process.

Further, your choice of performance material should be age-appropriate for both your participants and your intended audience.

Please Click On The Link Below To Document That:

  • You have secured permission from the rights-holder to perform, record, and distribute any performance materials (script, sheet music, prerecorded tracks, live-streaming, DVDs, etc.);
  • If you are making changes or additions to any performance materials – you have secured permission from the rights-holder to do so;
  • If you are using performance tracks – you have secured permission from the rights-holder to do so for a public performance.
  • Having reviewed your performance material, you assert that your performance is appropriate and safe for the participants involved as well as the performance’s intended audience.
  • If you are a teacher – you have secured permission from your principal to perform this material.