Dance and Copyright

As time moves on

Authored by: Charlotte Waelde

The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138234581
eBook ISBN: 9781315306551
Adobe ISBN:


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The purpose of this contribution is to give a copyright law response to the question “Who owns the dance?” by way of a detailed analysis of the legal rules around authorship. It will be suggested that authorship and relatedly ownership of copyright in recorded dance may rest with choreographers and multiple dancers. This response could result in challenges for making recorded dance available because each author of the copyright would need to give consent to re-use, a potentially onerous task at a time when the ubiquity of technologies makes reaching out to new audiences easier than in the past. Also, each co-author (and owner) could benefit from (financial) exploitation of the dance. To help broker these burgeoning relations between copyright authors and owners and users, it will be suggested that the dance community should consider establishing DanceROCS, a collecting society to manage copyright in dance.

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