General Information on Licensing

What Is Licensing?

After creating a show, theatre writers copyright their work, protecting their ownership of it and allowing them — and ONLY them or their duly appointed representatives (in this case, MTI) — to decide who may perform the show, where it may be performed, how it may be performed and how much will be charged for the privilege of using their work. This dramatic performance right (or "Grand Right") is known as an "intellectual property right"; the show is the “Copyright” or "intellectual property" of the authors. Copyright is a valuable right that is protected under federal and international copyright laws.

On the authors’ behalf, MTI grants a license to produce the show and collects a fee, known as a "Royalty," for this license for all performances. Built in to each and every performance license is specific language that governs how the copyrighted work must be presented. MTI's responsibilities include enforcing copyright law as it pertains to Grand Rights (e.g., prohibiting changes to the show, monitoring unlicensed productions, etc.), as well as protecting certain productions from competition in geographical markets (which is why performance rights to a certain show may be unavailable or "Restricted").

In licensing musicals, MTI charges three basic fees: royalty, rental and security deposit.

  • Royalty Fee:
    Royalties are the way authors are paid for the use of their show (their "intellectual property").  The authors of a musical may include the bookwriter (who writes the dialogue), the composer (who writes the music) and the lyricist (who writes the words to the music). Their right to be paid for use of their work is guaranteed by the copyright laws of this and other countries, and is the basis of theatrical licensing.
  • Rental Fee:
    Rental fees are charged for the materials we supply to your theatre organization in conjunction with a performance license. These materials include the performance materials (scripts, scores, etc.) and the MTI Theatrical Resources. [It should be noted that MTI’s materials are created and provided to licensees for use solely in conjunction with a performance license.]
  • Security Deposit:
    Because rental materials remain MTI’s property and must be returned at the conclusion of your production, we collect a security deposit on each performance license, which is refunded upon the return of the materials. Any shipping, damage or lost materials fees are deducted from the deposit.