In other words, "I'm looking for a free version of your work-in-progress." This, irked me as I am also a writer, I don't take kindly to people nicking my work. More importantly, I have had my work nicked (blog entries reposted elsewhere without attribution, book reviews quoted or reprinted without attribution or permission, et cetera) but this was the first time somebody had the chutzpah to tell me, "I would like to nick your work, because it sounds really interesting!" This is despite the fact that I am already making the effort to put my work out for a public viewing.To Ian, nick may mean something different from what it means to me, but generally, this works:
Also, as a general rule, as is mentioned in the comments to Ian's post, is reading your script a copyright issue? If the same person had e-mailed and asked to be sent a script, would it be the same problem? I could see it being a question if they announced their intention to produce the work without your permission or if they were planning to disseminate it. That would be getting into some copyright issues. Or if they were planning to pass off your work as their own. But...just reading it violates your copyright? Really?
I'm definitely in the copyleft, open source camp to begin with, so I don't really have any issue with someone downloading a script of mine. In fact, I think it would be a good thing. More people reading the work, hell, even more people doing productions or readings is a grand thing. That's what we're supposed to want. Exposure and audiences, maybe even a fan. Ooo, someone is intrigued by my work and wants to download it. That's sca-ary!
I admit, I'm mocking Ian, maybe a little unfairly. He has every right to be protective of his work, especially a work-in-progress. But he says, in the comments, that he wouldn't have minded if the person identified themselves as an "actor/director/contest judge," though and I find that problematic. I mean, if someone just wanted to read his script because they thought it was interesting and couldn't make the reading would be told to take a hike, but someone with the appropriate credentials can get it, even if it's a work-in-progress? Who is the person of value here? And what are we telling that person?
Ian sees the new world of on-demand downloads as a problem for artists. I see it as an opportunity, a chance to connect directly with our audiences without intermediaries. And I do see it as an opportunity and possibility for revenue. I mean, no one is going to put my play on the internet if I don't do it. And if I do, and allow people to download it, who's to say I don't charge a little bit for it. Yeah, people are used to finding free things on the internet, but they're also used to paying a little bit for things. Lots of other artists are capitalizing on this, why not playwrights?
It seems foolhardy to slap away a hand being extended, especially since, for most playwrights, making money off someone just reading your play is so rare. Why not let this person read it, enjoy it and maybe pass it along to a theatre wherever they are (Ian, rightfully so, withheld the details, so I don't know if this person was local to him or not)? Why not just let them read it and maybe drive and come see your play when it's being performed? Having someone reach out to you is such a great compliment, take it! And let's try to live in the modern world.