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UKSolicitorJA
UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I wish to organise a WW1 Centenary special event. The public

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I wish to organise a WW1 Centenary special event. The public will be given free entry to the event and donations will be invited in aid of the British Legion. At the event we wish to read a selection of WW1 poems by Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and others. Some poems are in the public domain, but others appear not to be. This is a charity event. Do we need to pay fees of any sort in order to read these poems aloud to a small audience in a church venue?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Hello,
Reading out the poems do not have any copyright implications as you are not copying the poems but merely reading them out.
The fact that some of the poems are not in the public domain is not an issue unless you have signed up to a non disclosure agreement not to disclose these poems.
You may have to pay performance royalties for reading out the poems to a section of the public, you should check with the owners of the rights in the poems e.g. Wilfred Owen Association http://www.wilfredowen.org.uk/permissions
You may or may not have to pay them any royalties.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If according to the website Public Domain Poetry, a particular poem, eg Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, is in the public domain, then I don't need to pay performance royalties, do I?

But if a poem is not listed as being in the public domain, eg Attack by Siegfried Sassoon, then I do need to pay performance royalties?

You see, if I knew for certain that poems in the public domain could be recited in public without having to pay performance royalties, then I would simply limit my selection to poems in the public domain.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.
Whether or not a particular poem is in the public domain, you may still have to pay a performance royalty for reciting it to a section of the public.

This is why you need to check with whoever has rights in the poems to see whether a royalty is payable or not.

Hope this clarifies