Author Topic: Odd legal stuff you've learned  (Read 3219 times)

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dallas10086

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Odd legal stuff you've learned
« on: Feb 27, 2015, 10:27 am »
I had this occur during a rehearsal last month. I had always been told that if you don't have the rights to perform a song onstage that you can't use it. We were wanting to add a snippet of "Celebration" by Kool & The Gang into the end of a dance number; we checked with our resident A/V engineer to see if it fell into our existing licensing purchase (forgive me if I use the incorrect wordage). It didn't, and we would have had to pay extra in order to use it. BUT in the process we also learned that you can use any song at all so long as you change the words and make it clear that it's a parody, then it's free. I had no idea this was legal.
It made me wonder if anyone else had come across misconceptions about the legalities of certain aspects of our field and found them either untrue or found a giant loophole.

**Of course before taking any of our word for it, make sure you check with your theater's policies or legal department if necessary**
« Last Edit: Feb 27, 2015, 10:31 am by dallas10086 »

MatthewShiner

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #1 on: Feb 27, 2015, 11:38 am »
Learned a lot about HR stuff - hiring (like avoid writing on resumes you notes from the interview), firing, pay, giving references, harassment.

OSHA rules . . . and how they change from state to state, city to city, venue to venue . . . and how people say OSHA says . . . when it's really in house policies.

Lots of about drinking, drugs . . . work environment.
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NomieRae

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #2 on: Feb 27, 2015, 02:42 pm »
Fire codes and how they vary by city/state/how well bribed the local fire marshal is...

In some places there MUST be a 36" fire lane no matter what, even if someone stands there for less than 30 seconds they must be out of the fire lane... in other places as long as the item/person/etc imposing on the fire lane is movable by one human being it's considered fine (a chair, a rolling rack, etc)

I always err on the side of caution, but some places I've asked "wouldn't you get fined for that?" and everyone looks at me like I've got three heads.
--Naomi
"First, I honor life, and with it my life in theatre." -- Jacques Burdick

nick_tochelli

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #3 on: Feb 27, 2015, 03:33 pm »
I actually learned one two weeks ago about the specifications of a cable that can and cannot be used in NYC theaters. We tried to sell someone a specific cable and he actually send us the regulation saying we were trying to sell him an illegal extension. Who would have guessed?

KMC

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #4 on: Feb 27, 2015, 03:39 pm »
I actually learned one two weeks ago about the specifications of a cable that can and cannot be used in NYC theaters. We tried to sell someone a specific cable and he actually send us the regulation saying we were trying to sell him an illegal extension. Who would have guessed?

What is the requirement, out of curiosity?  LSZH?
Get action. Do things; be sane; donít fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

nick_tochelli

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #5 on: Feb 27, 2015, 04:00 pm »
Cables come with all their special lingo which designate what qualities the cable has. There was a law passed (or ordinance I guess since it's NYC specific) that says you can't have a Junior Service cable in the space. So any cable that has a designation with a J is illegal because it would only be rated to 300V instead of 600V like theatrical cables should be. It was something we hadn't been aware of. We automatically sell the higher quality cable on purpose here so it was hardly ever an issue until that one theater who was money concerned and we gave the JOW cable a try. Most everything you buy won't be rated this way. Just every once and a while a DIYer will buy the cheapest cable (Junior Service) and try to use it.

Maggie K

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #6 on: Sep 08, 2015, 03:59 pm »
One of the things that I've run into is the legalities of internships.  So many companies use un-paid interns as a way of getting around paying employees but don't bother to find out if what they're doing is legal.  There have been a lot of news articles in the last few years about non-theatre companies being sued by former interns because they didn't follow the laws.  I even know one theatre that realized they could be in trouble if anyone looked so they changed their entire internship program and re-titled it as an apprentice program.  I've become very careful about throwing the word intern around.

Here's an article that I found very informative.
http://www.blueavocado.org/content/legalities-nonprofit-internships

Number 4 is where people usually get in trouble!  If you're working at a theatre that uses interns it's definitely something to ask upper management about.
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone. -Maggie Smith

PSMKay

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #7 on: Sep 08, 2015, 04:16 pm »
Maggie, this was one of the reasons why I created the Internship survey. I wanted to track which internships were actually educational. It's still going, you can access it from the top right navigation in the desktop version of SMNetwork.

Maggie K

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #8 on: Sep 09, 2015, 06:37 am »
Maggie, this was one of the reasons why I created the Internship survey. I wanted to track which internships were actually educational. It's still going, you can access it from the top right navigation in the desktop version of SMNetwork.

Awesome!  I forgot about the survey.  The one thing though is that it is my understanding that in addition to the position being educational, an intern cannot be vital to the running of a company.  That's where I feel a lot of theatres can get themselves in trouble, particularly in stage management (here's your intern who will be serving as your union required production assistant who will be running the backstage crew, sounds kind of vital)

However, I also know that there are legal differences between internships at for-profits vs non-profits and volunteer vs paid.  Now I'm curious.  Time for some research!
I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone. -Maggie Smith

Michelle R. Wood

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Re: Odd legal stuff you've learned
« Reply #9 on: Sep 09, 2015, 09:21 am »
@Maggie: let us know your findings. I think we all know quite a few theatres where interns are definitely "vital."
"Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." -- Thomas Edison (Harper's Magazine, 1932)