Creative Commons

Artists performing at the Slickrock Cafe

An issue floating around right now is dealing with creative rights. Who owns the rights to your choreography? Well “you do”.

Studio owners may have final say if something remains in a dance or not, but the creative  rights to the entire piece remains with the choreographer “FOREVER”. Unless they have signed those rights away!

A soloist or team will pay for choreography, for a certain usage. Generally people pay for choreography because they haven’t a clue what they are doing themselves. You hire out. Note that creative rights do not transfer in this regard.

A way to learn about creative rights is to study up a little on public domain and creative commons.
Many new music artists who want to get their music heard will use creative commons usage rights to get their stuff heard and used. This means that you can use their materials “if” you give them a PR plug on your website, radio, print media, etc. What ever they request. I used an artists material recently when I put together a little video clip for a Stars dance group. The song was called “Say So” by Lorraine. I gave the artist a plug at the beginning of the clip.
Public domain is free. Doesn’t mean new – but free.
Did you know that the song “Happy Birthday” is still under copy right? Copy rights are good until the death of the creator and then 75 to 100 years after that. Believe it or not, whenever the song Happy Birthday is used in movies, they have to get approval first to sing it.
So be careful the next  time you are in McDonalds with the kids singing that “Happy Birthday” song. The creative rights people might shut your party down. 🙂 Well, maybe not… to many partys to attend. But they do shut down Hollywood movie makers.
It’s tough for independent dancers to post videos of performances on You Tube. Many find that their work is dinged with copy right violations. Most publishers won’t shut you down, however they do place an ad on your site. Which is only right. It’s really hard as dancers to be creative without owning your own sounds. That is where Creative Rights and Creative Common music kind of helps to fill the void. Although, going through 100’s if not 1000’s of tunes to find “just the right one” is time consuming. I’d never make it as a music exec.
My family has dealt with copy rights for over 35 years. My mother owns nearly 100 music rights, both hers and her mothers. It’s a process to protect your material.
Dance not unlike music is a lot of memorized steps and movements.  Eeryone always wants to learn the newest moves, hear the newest tunes. To be really creative requires some thought and some energy. It requires knowing the steps and movements,being up on the latest moves – plus generating and creating your own style into the mix. Plugging in the music is another level, or process to take into consideration.
Dance is really my thing, but I do like watching the music industry as well. Just for kicks and giggles, I created a music site over on MySpace . It’s interesting to see the types of musical people that are willing to subscribe to my site. It’s also kind of cool to get a preview of new artists cutting their teeth on their first albums. I was mildly surprised at how good some of these new bands were. REAL Music – not that canned stuff.
I’m currently working on a solo piece right now for a young dancer. She has chosen to dance to a song that is basically a military tribute to our soldiers in arms. It’s a difficult tune to work with – but it is inspiring. Sometimes you have to let the music grow on you. As I continue to listen to the song, I’m making mental notes and sampling choreography that may fit each piece. It’s a work in progress – like all things. I was surprised at her choice of music to dance too. I am choosing to keep the song private for now.
Good luck on your music choices.

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