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Eddy Barrows, Published July 20 2009

Trollwood fails its responsibility

The publication of the Trollwood Performing Arts School’s posters and billboards advertising “The Wiz” contains a gross indiscretion.

For 30 years, Trollwood (and its producer, Fargo Public Schools) has failed to provide due authorship on posters, billboards, newsletters, program covers and news releases for their theatrical productions. These rights are a contractual obligation clearly stated by the publishers – and agreed to by the producing organization in the signing of every public performance contract.

For 30 years, Trollwood has ignored this obligation, though they seem to have room on their posters and billboards to acknowledge a director seemingly more important than the writers and composers whose work Trollwood produces.

Dramatists Play Service Inc. states: “Anyone receiving permission to produce (fill in the blank) is required to give credit to the Author as sole and exclusive Author of the Play in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all instances in which the title of the Play appears for purposes of advertising, publicizing or otherwise exploiting the Play and/or a production thereof; the name of the Author must appear on a separate line, in which no other name appears, immediately beneath the title and in a size of type equal to 50 percent of the largest letter used for the title of the Play. No person, firm or entity many receive credit larger or more prominent than the accorded Author.”

Samuel French Inc. states: “Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.”

All theatrical publishers have likewise worded agreements. There are serious fines for not giving due authorship.

Every theater company or producing organization has a moral and ethical obligation to designate authorship to the writers and composers who provide a theater its livelihood through the production of their works.