Journal of Intellectual Property Law


Creators protect their valuable intellectual property interests through copyright. Historically, stage performers struggled to secure copyright ownership in their performances within a larger production. As the theatre landscape changes, however, trends indicate that producers will increasingly rely on performers to develop characters and shows. This reliance could prove to be an exploitative practice if performers do not receive additional compensation for their part in creating successful works. This Note first examines the meanings of authorship, fixation, and control under the Copyright Act of 1976, then widens its lens to consider alternate interpretations of these technical terms in light of an evolving theatre landscape. This Note argues that developmental sessions and immersive theatre productions represent situations where performers take on quasi-authorial roles. In order to afford performers security and agency, labor law and contract law should step in where copyright law fails to reach.