An Indonesian School Produced 'Hamilton' Last Year and No One Noticed Until Now

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In the Fall of 2016, a musical theatre club at the London School of Public Relations in Jakarta, Indonesia performed Hamilton for their annual musical. However, this was not just a couple of songs that we typically see videos of in talent shows and cabarets. No, this was a fully staged production of the show, complete with sets, costumes, and choreography. And yes, it appears they sold tickets for this production as well. 

Here is a video of their version of "Yorktown"...Yes they put this on Youtube.  UPDATE: It looks as though they have taken down the videos.

Here is their version of "Helpless" and "Satisfied". 

And here are some images from the show including the poster in case there was any confusion over what show they were doing. 

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The club titled "LSPR Teatro" has been performing at the school for years. In the past, they've performed other shows such as Jersey Boys and Catch Me If You Can. While it's unknown if the group had permission to perform those, it's obvious they didn't purchase rights to do Hamilton because the rights aren't available yet and certainly weren't available in the Fall of 2016. 

According to the school's Youtube page,

"LSPR Teatro produced Hamilton: An American Musical as their 16th production. The story tells about the life of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. The performance was held from 17th–20th of November 2016 at Prof. Dr. Djajusman Auditorium & Performance Hall – LSPR Jakarta.

LSPR Teatro has chosen a true story of Hamilton an American Musical as their 3rd in a row performance. The performance was implemented as a form of teamwork and organization in order to encourage people to discover themselves and what they could become through theatre."

So this is an issue. Reproducing it is infringement under the Copyright Act. It doesn't matter if the show is American and it's being performed in Indonesia, it's still infringement. And since this just now starting to make the rounds on social media, the London School of Public Relations could be put at quite the risk. Hamilton producers could seek damages (monetary compensation) for its unauthorized use. The fact that they apparently sold tickets for this event puts the school in a potentially worse position. Now whether or not this is enforceable is another issue entirely. 

This issue was brought up in the summer of 2016 when a school in Canada tried to essentially do the same thing. The Wexford Collegiate School also recorded full reproductions of Hamilton numbers in an effort to gain attention in order to obtain the rights to the show. Obviously, this was shut down immediately. 

I'll be honest with you, I'm just seeing this now. Someone posted this on their Facebook page with basically the question of, "How were they allowed to do this?"

Truth is, they more than likely weren't. But I'm also a bit surprised no one noticed this until now. Needless to say, we do now. 

When things like this happen, rather than blame innocent students who just wanted to perform a beloved show and aren't knowledgeable of copyright laws, I blame the adults in the room. Just like what happened at Wexford, the blame squarely falls on the faculty advising or overseeing this performance. And judging from this photo, there were adults involved with this production at LSPR. So it would probably have been helpful if someone had asked if they were actually allowed to do this. 

As schools all over the world are eager to perform this show, patience is required because overstepping boundaries and violating copyright is something that should never happen. 

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I've sent emails to the LSPR for an explanation and I will update this article with their response. 

UPDATE: 3/9/18 - 12:09 AM - I received a text message from a student involved with the production. She stated that before opening night, she was concerned that they weren't allowed to do this. She brought her concerns up to the directors were wasn't given a straight answer. This tells me that those involved at least apparently knew about copyright rules and chose to violate them, potentially not knowing that they might not be enforceable.