Dancing with Copyright
On November 17, 2022, the U.S. Copyright Office released a video recording of a conversation the Office hosted with Janet Eilber, artistic director of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and Jamar Roberts, critically acclaimed dancer and former resident choreographer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, about copyright, dance, and choreography. The conversation, titled Dancing with Copyright: A Conversation with Janet Eilber and Jamar Roberts, was recorded earlier this year.
U.S. copyright law has specifically protected choreographic works since 1978, though creators had previously registered them as dramatic works as early as 1952. In 1952, German-American dancer, educator, and choreographer Hanya Holm became the first person to register a copyright for choreography when she registered her choreography for Kiss Me, Kate.
In this conversation, Eilber and Roberts talked to Jaylen Johnson, former attorney-advisor for the Copyright Office’s Public Information and Education Office. Eilber and Roberts shared stories from their careers and discussed what inspires their work, accessibility in dance, and more.