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Letter: Leave the cameras at home

I had the pleasure of being in the audience for a wonderful production recently. It was well-done all the way around. This is something that the community should be proud of and continue to support. There was one tiny thing that derailed my overall enjoyment, and it had nothing to do with the performances on stage.

The gentleman directly in front of me decided it was OK to record the performance. Not only was it rather distracting to see the screen all lit up in the otherwise dark theater, it is illegal. It is copyright infringement.

The penalties for violations of these rules can exceed $150,000 per infringement, and each copy of the offending product can be considered an infringement. So, with a cast of 10, each receiving a copy, you’re talking about as much as $1.5 million. That’s enough to put most school districts and nonprofits in a serious bind.

Don’t think anyone won’t find out about it. Schools and nonprofit organizations are sued all the time over this kind of thing. They usually settle, so there’s little media coverage, but it is happening. It’s not just because videos wind up on the web. The major play publishers have “representatives” everywhere, and they’re reporting violations all the time.

Bottom line: It’s illegal, it’s a breach of the license agreement, and can be very costly. Also, once a play publisher catches wind of this, they will put that organization on their blacklist, and never authorize another production again. So, this goes far beyond common courtesy to the other patrons in the theater. Next time, sir, just don’t do it.