Sorry, you should have received this first time.
This is a question about the rights of intellectual property between me, the sponsor who produced the idea, arranged the briefings, and paid for the script, and the playwright, who put it together in dramatic form.
In 2007 I approached a Scottish play*****, ***** Dallmeyer, with the proposition that he write a musical on Robert Burns. After further discussions he eventually agreed and the terms were £2000 to produce a treatment and a further £6000 payable on the finished script .
I sent him a letter dated 14 June, which confirmed my terms. There was no further paperwork and the cheque was duly cashed. Andrew Dallmeyer attended briefings by a number of Burns experts who guided him on the life of Burns and also selected the tunes from the Burns era to go with Andrew’s songs. Some of the songs and words are from the originals of Burns’s time.
At these meetings it was made clear that we intended to offer the script, free of charge, to all educational establishments in Scotland, and subsequently overseas. We also discussed our hopes for commercial development.
Andrew Dallmeyer subsequently completed the script and was paid in full.
My understanding of our outline agreement on 14 June (see below)was that the charity owned the script and that we had the right to distribute the script to schools etc and that if there was any commercial development a fair deal would be reached for all concerned.
Our first difficulty occurred when the Scottish national youth Theatre Company wanted to put the musical at the Fringe, shortening it to one hour, but Andrew kicked up such a fuss that they cancelled their plans. We did have a tentative meeting with Andrew to dissuade him from interfering. The gist was that he was quite happy about the free offer into schools, but that he was anxious to make some money if it was commercially developed. In answer to my point that I had commissioned him to write the script for £9000, and therefore the script belong to first Scottish, he said that he had copyright and that the only requirement, on any commercial development, was for him to repay the £9000. Nothing further was said.
Since 2007, the charity has spent considerable time and money publicising the script. Among other things it commissioned a well-known arranger of music to produce piano arrangements of the lyrics at a cost of £4000 .
Also, because the original script was too long and too adult for many schools, a shortened version was adapted from Andrew Dallmeyer’s Burns Supper by another person and named “Rabbie.”
In August 2014 “Rabbie” was performed by senior schools in the Edinburgh fringe. Andrew Dallmeyer was invited to attend the performance and very pleased that the response. He said he had been given sufficient confidence now wish to promote it for commercial production.
The plans are for Rabbie to be performed at a larger venue in the Edinburgh fringe next year, once again by schools, and this may become a fixture in the fringe programme. We are now getting enquiries from commercial producers and consider that we must tackle the issue of the rights of the various parties.
I would like it if you were able to clarify my situation , in particular my rights as below
1. To distribute the script to schools etc, and make such alterations as are required without hindrance from Andrew Dallmeyer .
2. To seek out commercial development of Burns supper and have an agreement with Andrew as to what his “take” on any royalties etc should be. I understand that a typical royalty situation is 5% of the ticket sales. In which case, what would be a fair split between Andrew Dallmeyer and the charity, first Scottish?
OR WHAT ARE THE STRONG POINTS IN MY POSITION?
Andrew is not quite the starving playwright, but is anxious to make some money. There are the possibilities of a further commission from my quarter. He has an agent, but so far has not involved him. I doubt that he would go to the expense or bloody-mindedness of stopping a school perform, but it is something which producers are fearful about. In other words, they may want a firm assurance from me.