Requesting rights for musical adaptation(one already exists)

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Requesting rights for musical adaptation(one already exists)

Post by musical123 »

I am interested in writing a musical based upon a copyrighted book whose author is still alive. However, I see that another group has already written a musical based on this same book. The musical does not appear to have gone anywhere - it has a website, demos, etc., and seems to be dead in the water.

In your experience, can/do authors ever release rights for adaptations to more than one musical author? Or when an author grants rights, is it usually an exclusive rights situation? I do not want to waste time or bark up the wrong tree, but on the same token and not sure whether authors reserve the rights to grant more than one author/group the rights to adapt their works.

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Post by AndyJ »

Hi musical123

I am not aware of any cases where the rights to adapt a work of literature into a musical play have been granted to more than one licensee concurrently, but I expect it has been done. I think it will entirely depend on the individual author and how he/she was advised at the time. As you imply, the norm would be for an exclusive licence because of the financial commitment which would be necessary to write and stage the musical play (the legal terminology used for 'musicals'). And of course there may be some sort of termination clause built in to the original licence which meant it lapsed if the work was not performed within a specified time, although again this would be unusual.

So you will probably need to contact the author or his agent to get the definitive answer in your particular case.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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