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  1. #1
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    Default Performing a DVD choreography

    I have recently been asked whether performing a piece from a bellydance DVD is wrong. I said, "most likely", but I wanted to out it out there for discussion. Technically, the piece is on a public forum, so the DVD instructor cannot expect someone to never perform it. Lets discuss?

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    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    This will depend on the dvd and the instructor. If the dvd is instructional, then they may have permission to perform it. In my case, students are welcome to perform what they have learned on my dvds, but must give choreography credit. However, as with all of my students, they are not authorized to teach the choreographies to others without my permission (though they can all learn it from the dvd).

    In any case, if someone wishes to perform a choreography they learned from an instructional dvd and isn't sure about whether this included permission for public performance, it is a good idea to ask the instructor. Generally, I would say that most choreographies taught on instructional dvds are ok to perform as long as full credit is given.

    Now, this is all different if it is a perfomance dvd. It is generally considered unethical to copy another performer's choreography from a non-instructional dvd. There may be special circumstances, but I would recommend not using performance choreographies not taught on the dvd without first obtaining permission.

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    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    If the DVD is there to teach the choreography and you have actually bought the DVD (as opposed to watching it on YouTube or borrowing it). I think it is fair enough to perform it - giving credit to the choreographer. (However, I do know of cases where the teacher uses a choreography to teach aspects of the dance and either wants you to not perform it or run it past them first)

    If it is a performance DVD then, no, it is not fair game. And by being "out there" it is effectively recorded as copyrighted to the dancer.

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    This particular DVD is from an internationally known performer and is easily obtained on her website, so, it is safe to say, 100 people could already be performing it. I just really wanted to have an open chat about it and get other opinions before I can flat out tell my friend yea or no. It is a Store-sold DVD and not one from a hometown instructor.

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    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    IMO, if the choreo is actually taught on the DVD, it's okay to perform it as long as you give the creator credit. If it's a choreo that isn't taught on the DVD, then no.

    Oo; Wow, I'm a slow typer!

    Just read the OP's response. If it's a performance DVD, it does not matter if a person bought it and owns it, that person may NOT perform that choreo without special permission. It's like this: someone may have bought the entire Twilight collection of books. That person may own physical copies of the books, BUT HE/SHE DOES NOT OWN THE COPYRIGHT. He/she did NOT write the books, therefore, he/she is not the author.

    A dancer may own a performance DVD, but he/she did NOT perform on that DVD, and did NOT create that choreography. Said dancer does NOT own the copyright. Therefore, said dancer does not have permission to perform that choreo or ANY choreo on that DVD. Copying without permission is stealing, and stealing is WRONG. It doesn't matter if a billion people are doing it---IT IS WRONG.
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 11-28-2012 at 06:49 PM.

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    I did, also, tell her to email the DVD instructor asking for performance permission. I doubt there will be a response as this is a well known, "famous", Performer and workshop instructor.

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    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    You need to explain to her that it doesn't matter how famous or well-known the performer is, her performance is still her intellectual property, and your friend cannot perform the choreo without the performer's express permission.

    I deal with this problem at my job when customers bring in professionally-done studio photos to copy at the photo kiosks. They think that since they bought the photos, they can make as many copies as they want without realizing (or caring) that they do not own the copyright. Same problem with kids who download anime or watch it online on an illegal pirate website. Until everyone realizes that such activities are wrong, the problem will continue.
    Last edited by Farasha Hanem; 11-28-2012 at 10:12 PM.

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JennaJoy View Post
    I did, also, tell her to email the DVD instructor asking for performance permission. I doubt there will be a response as this is a well known, "famous", Performer and workshop instructor.
    You never know, very few people ask permission, so it might actually be a welcome question for the instructor. Most of the famous star dancers I've met are incredibly down to earth and pleasant.

    Personnally, I feel that, yes, it's ok to perform a dance from a choreography dvd as it's purpose is to teach you a choreography. I would even be alright with performing a dance from a performance dvd or youtube PROVIDED that it's at a low key Hafla or family gathering as in, somewhere where you are dancing to try stuff out or practice your performance skills. NOT somewhere where you market yourself as a pro dancer or get paid. And of course, always give credit to the choreographer.
    immer glimmer

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    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    I could paint copies of all Van Gogh's work provided it is for personal practice and not for sale or public exhibition, right?
    immer glimmer

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    Member mahsati_janan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gisela View Post
    I could paint copies of all Van Gogh's work provided it is for personal practice and not for sale or public exhibition, right?
    This depends on whether the work is under copyright, how it is created/displayed, etc. There is a lot to consider when you are using another artist's intellectual property. Personally, respecting someone's intellectual property means that you do not use their choreography without permission. There are legal ways to use items under fair use, but public performance of another person's work would not usually be included. As an example, community theater groups must pay for the rights to perform a play, even if all of the actors have watched the movie and learned the words scene by scene. Without the permission to perform it, it likely would be a violation of the copyright of the artist.

    Edited to add: this is an interesting paper on choreography and copyright: http://www.kentlaw.edu/perritt/cours...per%20Work.pdf
    Last edited by mahsati_janan; 11-28-2012 at 09:55 PM. Reason: Added link

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