Playwrights' Licensing Relief Act would modify antitrust laws

Sens. Charles Schumer and Orrin Hatch’s recently introduced Playwrights’ Licensing Relief Act of 2002 is getting the silent treatment on Times Square.

Designed to pave the way for a new standard contract between Broadway scribes and producers, the bill, introduced April 10, would modify the antitrust laws, in essence authorizing collective negotiations between playwrights, who had lobbied for the bill through the Dramatists Guild, and producers, many of whom prefer the old Approved Production Contract — or no standard contract at all.

Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theaters & Producers, issued a memo April 11 to all league members regarding the bill.

“Executive committee will be meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the proposed legislation submitted by the Dramatists Guild. Should the press be seeking a response from you, you should offer no comment,” Bernstein wrote.

“We are obviously gathering facts as fast as possible so that a cohesive strategy can be developed. In the interim, any comment to the press could very much damage our interests.”

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