What are the copyright rules governing a stage adaptation?
August 25, 2006 5:29 PM Subscribe
What copyright issues are associated with writing a stage adaptation of a classic 1950's horror story?
I'm a college student, currently taking a playwrighting class in which the teacher has encouraged us to do adaptations of existing work. I've written some theater pieces in the past and had them performed, but I've never considered writing an adaptation.
My current favorite idea would be an adaptation of the classic 1957 horror novel "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson.
My question would be, other than as the fulfillment of an assignment, what would be the future of this piece? If I wrote such an adaptation, what would its copyright status be? Is there anything I should look into before writing such an adaptation, if I wanted the piece to possibly have a future outside of the classroom? Would a play more loosely based on the book have less copyright issues than one which followed it strictly?
It's probably important to mention that the novel has been used as the basis for two movies since its publication, The Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price, and The Omega Man, with Charlton Heston.
On a related note, does anyone have any interesting suggestions for horror pieces (or anything interesting works, really) that are in the public domain and could be translated to the stage?