I have all my plays in their entirety on my website. http://www.edwardcrosbywells.com 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 fee 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. :>) I do, however have more than a slight problem with my first drafts and incomplete works floating around the internet. There are enough bad reviews out there and first drafts will only reinforce why they are. That is why I use my initials, when I think to do it, when posting something in this forum.
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This lets me, as an unpublished playwright,* to keep track of where the scripts go and where (potentially) productions will be done.
*"Unpublished" in the sense that I haven't yet seen fit to have a publisher take over for me.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.