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NDFA Guidance on Royalties

As a Committee we are concerned at how the Government’s reaction to Corona

virus has impacted the performing arts and the detrimental effect this is having on Drama

Festivals. Whilst some are standing still, some are planning to host “Virtual Festivals”

making use of ZOOM video technology to present a production to a connected audience.

Whilst many Virtual Festival productions will feature self-penned performances, some may feature plays by published authors. A question that has been asked by a fellow member concerned Royalties for published plays and if and what licence fees would need to be paid.

Michael Lees investigated this matter on behalf of the Committee.

The most important point is that publishers and agents will make a royalty charge for a video performance.

Michael gives three examples from well – known publishers:

Stagescripts have four categories

• A closed group (not recorded)

• A closed group where the performance is recorded and uploaded to a website

or social media site.

• A live stream audience where the performance is ephemeral

• An uploaded video.

Royalties will have to paid on all the above from zero to 33% of the standard licence.

The Stage scripts website ( is very helpful with a lot of

information which members should read before continuing with their project.

Nick Hern Books have several titles on release for this sort of performance at a flat rate

of £60 per performance again see website. (

Samuel French were not forthcoming at the moment only saying usual royalties will

need to be paid.

All our members are advised to contact each individual publisher online as there is no

common practise.

We hope this information proves useful.

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