Compendium of U.S. Copyright Practices, 3rd Edition

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804.3 (D) (1) Stage Business

804.3 (D) (1) Stage Business

Stage business refers to activity performed by the actors to illustrate character or create dramatic effect, such as rolling up one’s sleeves or tapping a pencil. Stage business may be created by the playwright, the director, and/or the actor. Stage business is not registrable in and of itself because it represents common body movements which are not subject to copyright protection. See Sections 805.5 and 806.5.

Choreography and pantomime are the only categories of works comprised exclusively of certain types of bodily movements that are eligible for copyright protection under Section 102 (A) of the Copyright Act. For more information on choreographic works and pantomimes, see Sections 805 and 806 below.

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