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WHY DO I NEED A LICENSE?

It is important to remember where your musical comes from. Playwrights work tirelessly, often for years, to create their finished piece. They work hard, not only to create great art, but to put food on the table, pay the rent, and care for their families - just like anyone else. Samuel French exists to support the livelihood - and protect the work - of these artists. Licensors exist because dramatists own their work, and companies like Samuel French are charged with facilitating producers borrowing them for performance. Samuel French makes sure the producer can do the show, and the artists get paid for it.


The playwright's process is a long one


Sometimes it takes years, and much personal expense, to create a single play or musical. Born from a spark of an idea, it blossoms into a script, rounds upon rounds of revisions, readings and workshops, then it comes the time to market the play, hoping a theater will perform it. It may take months, even years, before a theater or producer says "yes." They will rehearse it, perform it, and close it. Then it's Samuel French's job to give the piece the life it deserves and get to work searching for another possible production.


From start to finish, the life cycle of a play can last many years


During this time, the writer - unless they are commissioned to work - often isn't paid a salary, nor do they receive health insurance or other benefits. Most writers only begin to make money once their play or musical is produced. The license fee we charge plays a crucial part in making up for the unpaid time spent writing and developing plays.


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As producers and theatre makers, it is our collective responsibility to understand copyright laws and licensing rules, and how they directly affect playwrights. To learn more about this, check out Samuel French's white paper, "Owning Their Words".