Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Luke McDonagh On Copyright in Theater Practice

Luke McDonagh, City University London, has published Plays, Performances and Power Struggles - Examining Copyright's 'Integrity' in the Field of Theatre at 77 The Modern Law Review 533 (2014). Here is the abstract.

This article explores the notion of ‘integrity’ under copyright law by analysing examples of 'integrity based objections' in the field of theatre. These objections typically involve playwrights objecting to changes being made to their copyright works by other parties, such as directors and actors. This analysis is deepened by the use of two concepts from the field of art theory – ‘aura’, as put forward by Walter Benjamin, and ‘trajectory’, as outlined by Bruno Latour and Adam Lowe. Finally, to shed further light on the issues raised, the work of Pierre Bourdieu is used to present new empirical research recently undertaken by the author in the field of UK theatre. This research demonstrates that ‘power struggles’ are a common feature of theatrical collaboration; that copyright is deeply implicated in the way such power struggles are conceived; and moreover, that resolving these power struggles successfully – including taking account of ‘integrity-based objections’ – is crucial to theatrical practice.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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