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THEATRE AND COPYRIGHT LAW

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background to the Study

Theatre arts as a discipline has been taught over the years in higher institution as an art ,but little or no attention has been given to the legal perspective of the discipline.

Law relates to every discipline including theatre arts. Law is a body of rules enacted to guard, guide and regulate human conduct in any society. Law is about human beings and theatre on the other hand deals with human beings .Both disciplines are concerned with the social life of the people. Oscar Brockett The Theatre an Introduction observes that “Theatre has been considered by, at least some segment of society, to be one of the most effective tools available to human beings in their attempt to understand themselves and their world” (1979:4)

Mineke Schnipper (1982:95) asserts that:

Modern drama attempts to hold a mirror to a people in which they can examine the world. Dramatic expression can serve to order and control society to ensure the survival of the species and modify and influence the society positively for the desired change.

From the above it means that theatre shows the people how they are, how they ought to be, and how to go about becoming what they ought to be. Law on the other hand stipulates sanctions and regulate human conduct so that the society can become what it ought to be, to achieve societal cohesiveness and social harmony.

Law and theatre complement each other in the people’s quest for meaningful co-existence. Both disciplines share same goal which is the perpetuation of a well cultured society in which every member seeks to maintain the norms and values by which the society is identified.

To this end the essence of knowing the law is for the theatre artiste to know his right and the bounds within which he can operate in order not to infringe in another person’s right and also to know when his right has been infringed upon. Knowing the law also makes the theatre artiste know the choice to make to protect his right and what remedy to seek when any wrong has been occasioned against him.

1.2  Objectives of the Study

This study seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Checkmate plagiarism in the theatre practice
  2. Review the remedies of copyright infringement.
  3. Critically examine the law of copyright.
  4. Determine the effect of the copyright law
  5. Examine the consequences on defaulters.

1.3  Rationale for the Study

The law and the theatre are synonymous in relation to their functions. The law is meant to be executed on defaulting members of the society while theatre mirrors the society. Both are concerned with the socio-political life of the people.

It is paramount for the theatre artiste and every citizen to note the extent of his right as well as where others begin. Several researches have been done in the theatre but not much attention has been given to its law. Hence this study seeks to fill the gap

1.4  Significance of the Study

This study is an in-exhaustive one and it is significant to Nigeria citizens especially theatre artiste because it tends to create awareness of the copyright law, what it entails and the punishable measures meted on defaulters. It equally serves as a source of research to other scholars who may want to delve into the same area of study.

1.5  Methodology of the Study

In this research work, the literary methodology which is also known as analytical method is exclusively used. This is because most of the findings are from printed materials, textbooks, journals etcetera. In addition the historical methodology is used to tell the history of copyright, also documented in printed materials.

1.6  Scope of the Study

This research work discuses three areas of the law that directly affect the practice of theatre arts. The two areas of the law are; copyright law, piracy and plagiarism. This study discuses copyright in all its encompassment and it also covers plagiarism.

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