Re: What Are My Rights as a Playwright?

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I am a Playwright who has written and directed several plays that at my church. The church covered the expense budget for each play, but neither the cast nor myself was paid. It was understood that all efforts were strickly on voluntary basis to gain experience. I am now interested in pursuing this and taking my plays to other venues, but for some reason the church seems to feel they own the rights to my play because they’ve covered production cost (small budget) and distributed and sold DVD’s. I feel they don’t – I wrote the scripts, created each character, and used my time, energy, and talent to bring each production to the stage. I was never paid anything, and never asked for anything but the master copies. I’ve never signed anything stating they own the rights to any creative works performed in the church. Now they’re acting as if I committed a sin.

What are my rights? Am I entitled to a master copy of each taped show? They don’t want to give me a master copy of the play, only edited copy. I told them that my intentions aren’t to sell or make any money from them, just for archives and to edit and use snippets of my choice as a resume.

Please advise on this?