Quote Originally Posted by MattCarey
Here is a statement from the MTI website covering videotaping (I couldn't find a statement on photography).

"Copyright law gives authors the exclusive right to control the reproduction of their work. When MTI grants a license for a live stage production of a show, that license does not include the right to tape it because the authors retain the sole right to decide when or if their work is recorded in any way. Even a videotape made for classroom use, as a personal memento or as an archival school record violates the authors' separate right to reproduce their work. In many cases, the authors have already granted such rights exclusively to film or television companies, in which case you would also be infringing upon the rights granted by the authors to a third party."

In another section discussing changing a musical in any way, they state:

"It's important to remember that under Federal copyright law, not only can the director or producer who decided to change the work be held liable, but the entire production staff, cast and crew -- even the owner of the building, can be held liable, whether or not they knew they were part of a willful violation of copyright law"

Now, I have done a number of community theater productions. Almost all were videotaped at some point. All (100.00%) were changed in some way. These changes usually involve cutting some of the musical numbers (e.g. taking out a repeat, adding a repeat, removing a difficult dance sequence...).

It would make sense that one could make photographs for the promotion of the particular production. I.e. for programs, lobby photos, newspaper stories, etc.. However, I don't see those rights spelled out.

Matt, thank you for the reply. That's exactly what I've read, seen, and felt and how I've undertood the protection of the aunthors' rights etc.

However my concern is that I'm planning to do an exhibit of my work possibly in a gallery which consists of both still photos and video/film work, and this video/film I made partly has the recording of a famous play from a community theatrical production.

Again it's like a behind-the-scene type of video documentary, very much home-video edited on a computer, so its theme is strickly on the cast and the staff, but there are scenes that are captured during the reharsals and the shows. If I had to edit those scenes out, there would be very hard to think this work is complete.

Meanwhile as much as I want it to be shown somewhere, I'm thinking of the short video/film circuit as well, and that's where I may face real issues.

It's a dilemma because in reality like you said people do the recordings and exhibiting their works from the productions of famous plays, and that seems to be a common practice. But when I as a photographer/videographer want to present my work that involves that, my moral and ethics just kick in.

So, should I write a letter directly to the author to ask for his permisson in case he would care about my little video/film work?

Yes, I need a good sanity check but perhaps from the fellow APUGers!