Copyright in Choreography in Canada


Pop mega-star Beyoncé was accused this past week of copying dance moves in her video for the song "Countdown" (Beyoncé accused of 'stealing' dance moves in new video). Is it possible to infringe copyright by "copying" a dance?

The Copyright Act (Canada) includes a definition for "choreographic work", which is one of the enumerated types of works which make up the category of "dramatic work". However, in one of the charming drafting felicities for which the Canadian Copyright Act is so reknowned, "choreographic work" is simply defined to "include[] any work of choreography, whether or not it has any story line". One benefit of that definition is that it makes it clear that copyright extends to sequences of movements even if they bear no necessary relationship to any external narrative.

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