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Theatre and dramatic presentations 

Any theatrical production, concert or event that portrays a story is regarded as a dramatic presentation. This can be achieved through using Dramatic Action, Costume, Scenery, Narrative or any combination of these.

Examples include performances of musicals, compilation shows, plays, operas and ballet*. A concert with narration could also be construed as a dramatic presentation in some instances by virtue of the story being narrated.

*Ballet: a choreographic work having a story, plot or abstract idea, devised or used for the purpose of interpretation by dancing and/or miming, but does not include country or folk dancing, tap dancing or precision dance sequences.

Where does the money come from?

The money is usually charged to the promoter of the show. Dramatic or theatre presentations can either be licensed by you directly or by us, depending on the circumstances.

Where does the money come from?

Under what circumstances does PRS for Music not licence dramatic presentations?

There are two types of rights concerned with dramatic presentations:

  • Small Rights apply when the music has not been specially written for the presentation.  We control small rights and will issue a licence to the production company except when a member has indicated that they would like to license direct. To indicate this the member must request from us what is generally called a “7(f) notice”. Under this procedure we will usually then agree not to license the performance(s) in question so that the member can licence them. Email theatre clearances at dramaticapplications@prsformusic.com if you require more information about the 7(f) procedure.
  • Grand Rights apply when the music has been specially written for the presentation. We do not control grand rights except in a few specific circumstances. The rights owner or administrator, who is usually the writer member, their publisher or another representative, will usually negotiate a fee direct with the promoter.

Who licenses incidental and scene change music?

We automatically license this form of usage via licences issued to venues, provided that the music is subject to small rights.

Who licenses dramatic presentations on cable programme services?

Simultaneous retransmission of a broadcast:

If the retransmission stays within the area covered by the original broadcast there is no need for a further licence. If, however, it reaches beyond this area, we will issue an additional licence to the cable operator.

Original cable programmes:

Most cable programmes originated by the cable operator and excluding UK simulcasts are licensed by us.

Are there any grand right performances that PRS for Music does control?

Yes. There are three instances where PRS for Music will license the performance of a work that is subject to grand rights:

  • Film performances - All film performances of dramatic presentations are always controlled by us, whether the performance takes place in public at a cinema, by video projection or on television, and whether or not small or grand rights apply.
  • Television performances of ballet - we will license presentations of ballet on television for up to five minutes in duration
  • Documentary programmes - Members may ask us to license dramatic excerpts from a ballet or dramatic work broadcast in a documentary that have a total duration of 20 minutes or less, as long as the excerpts are all from the same work.

It is possible to have a small rights performance of a work from a grand right presentation, for example a song from a musical may be performed on the radio or in a live concert with no visual reference to the original show. This would be a small rights performance and therefore would be controlled by us.

Are non-dramatic* presentations of grand right works controlled by PRS for Music?

Yes. PRS licences:

  • Public performances of all non-dramatic* excerpts of grand rights works that are not longer than 25 minutes, and are not complete acts from, or potted versions of, the show.
  • TV broadcasts of all non-dramatic* excerpts of grand rights works that are not longer than 20 minutes, and are not complete acts from or potted versions of the show
  • Radio broadcasts of all non-dramatic* excerpts of grand rights works that are not longer than 25 minutes or 25% of the total duration of the work and are not complete acts from, or potted versions of, the show
  • All ballet music where there is no dancing

*In all cases, only if the presentation is in concert fashion with no visual reference to the parent musical work/show

Does PRS for Music license traditional pantomime?

Yes. Although pantomime contains a dramatic story, it is an exception to the general rule as outlined in this leaflet. Pantomime is automatically licensed by us and is not eligible for the 7(f) procedure.

Need further information?

If you require more specific information regarding dramatic presentations, please contact us.

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