I have all my plays in their entirety on my website, Having them there (or here) establishes a date and owner of property. I do not believe any of us is in much danger of having our plays stolen by other playwrights. However, I once "almost" had a theatre pirate one of my plays until I caught them and then doubled my royalty, since they were a week from opening. I also imagine there are some I haven't caught. Also, I need to add that the nearly-pirated production was from a published script that was purchased and not from my website. There is no one to stop theatres from doing plays in print, except for the possibility of getting caught. Personally, I should be so flattered. At one time I worried about that, but then at one time I had an over-inflated ego that old age has taken some of the air out. :>) Edd
P.S. Thrilled to see that you and your group from the other forum are such active members. Keep it up! -Edd
I keep excerpts only on my site--but not because I worry about "stealing." Rather, I like the idea of whetting a visitor's appetite for a piece, then giving them the opportunity to ask for a complete version. That version has a copyright notice in it, along with a royalty notice and a line that notes that provision of that "perusal copy" does not constitute permission to produce the play. (Mind you, this won't stop the industrious evil-minded soul who now has one full script, but we like to think there aren't so many evil-minded souls out there, now don't we?)
This lets me, as an unpublished playwright,* to keep track of where the scripts go and where (potentially) productions will be done.
*"Unpublished" in the sense that I haven't yet seen fit to have a publisher take over for me. I'm getting a pretty fair number of productions on my own, thank ya! :-)
I am reluctant to post works online given feedback from authors and a few literary agents that I know. Posting work is a loose form of publication, hence a publisher cannot gain ‘first rights’ for publication. Hence the hatred of print on demand companies such as Publish America.
This is not the greatest worry for a playwright aiming at a Broadway production, but if you end up looking for productions by people that are reading your scripts (hence buying them from a bookstore) it ‘could’ pose a real barrier.
But as for someone stealing your work… That is so unlikely! If someone did, they would have to be seriously dumb!
I have the full scripts to my plays on my website (minus those carried by a publisher). I have run into a couple of situations where people have done a play without permission, but I find that the benefits outweigh the risks, as my website has resulted in a number of productions. I don't think, though, that posting the full script quite amounts to "publication," or that it will make it any more difficult to get a publisher later on.
I don't know. I don't think, for example, that a theater looking for unpublished plays would disqualify a play that has been posted on a playwright's website. And while my experience in the area of print publishing in somewhat limited (only 2 published plays currently), I've never had the impression that having the script posted on the web would make a company less willing to publish it in print. They will of course not want the play posted in full once they have published it, but that's another matter.
But I do run into "theatre pirates" once in awhile. In fact, I'm currently trying to get in touch with a school in India that did one of my plays without permission, but that's the chance I take. As it's been pointed out, nothing stops someone from doing the same with a published script that they picked up at the library.