Waelde and Schlesinger (2011)
|Waelde and Schlesinger (2011)|
|Title:||Music and dance: beyond copyright text?|
|Author(s):||Waelde, C., Schlesinger, P.|
|Citation:||Waelde, C., & Schlesinger, P. (2011). Music and dance: beyond copyright text?.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Primary data include information gathered during a dancers focus group in London with interviews conducted on various performers. Additional interviews with musicians are included as support. Interviews were carried out on a one to one basis.
Target groups for study were those engaged in the creative production of experiential, experimental forms of music and dance. Most interviews were video-recorded or at least audio-recorded.
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Are experiential, experimental forms of music and dance beyond protection by copyright? If they are, how might these art forms best be protected by cultural policy and cultural economics? These were the key questions that we set out to investigate with the support of a Beyond Text grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and with the help of our network members where together we formed an interdisciplinary team comprised of experts in copyright law, cultural policy, cultural economics, dance and musical composition. Through a series of interviews with musicians, singers, songwriters, composers, dancers, choreographers and others involved in the music industry and dance community we came to the conclusion that these types of works are both before copyright and beyond copyright. They are before copyright because what matters to the majority of those involved is the process of creation – which itself is constantly evolving – rather than the product – the protected work once fixed. They are beyond copyright because key aspects of the performance involve contributions which are not recognised by copyright, and because there is much about the performance which simply cannot be captured in the mechanical sense. As a result, policy intervention, which focuses on the product rather than the process, becomes problematic. This article suggests a series of practical recommendations made by our interviewees for ways in which the art forms may be supported into the future.
Main Results of the Study
- In dance, there is much about both the process and the performance that interviewees think cannot be captured. For music, the process is also crucial. A key issue is to find something “extra” that will draw a life audience.
- Because of a lack of resources, there is much contemporary music and dance that will not be captured, as it lacks a market. Once it is captured, then if the work is of a recognized kind, it will be accorded copyright protection.
- A performer, on the other hand, is recognized as a performer in the absence of a performance being fixed. The lower parameters of the right accorded to performers, both unfixed and once fixed, which protects only the fixation itself and not the underlying performance against copying, seems much more suited to music and dance subcultures than does copyright with its expansive property right. The drawback is that performers’ income streams in respect of a performance are significantly lower by comparison with copyright owners’.
- On an individual level, our interviewees generally live in a culture of precarious production. The overwhelming majority had ‘portfolio careers’. In other words, they could not live by their art alone, but rather had to seek out other income streams. These included commercial work for third parties and, rather often, teaching. Public funding (e.g. via various arts agencies) was important for survival, although the constant need to fill application forms and justify the works could detract from the production of the work and this was not seen as a long-term strategy, more of an occasional help for a specific project.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- An unresolved question is whether increases in rights (such as the extension of protection for sound recordings) would actively be detrimental to the interests of experiential, experimental musicians and dancers172 or indeed, whether the intellectual property framework, as currently conceived, is itself damaging.
- We need to develop an understanding of creative processes and outputs that is both before and beyond copyright. The creative process prior to fixation is of prime importance and is thus before copyright; and there is much about a performance that defies fixation or is of the kind not recognised by the criteria required for copyright protection, and is thus beyond copyright.
- Going forwards, and in a time of stretched public funding, knowing where to target limited resources for maximum return is going to be of vital importance. Appreciating that increased or even existing protection by copyright is of only marginal importance to experiential, experimental forms of music and dance, and that other initiatives might have a greater impact in supporting the art forms, opens the terms of debate as to what new strategies of targeted support might be developed.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Individual|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|