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

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805.2 (C) Musical or Textual Accompaniment


805.2 (C) Musical or Textual Accompaniment


Choreography is usually accompanied by a specific musical composition, although in some cases it may be accompanied by the recitation of a literary work, such as a poem, or it may be performed in silence. See Horgan, 789 F.2d at 161 (quoting COMPENDIUM (SECOND) § 450.01).


The accompaniment for a choreographic work typically provides an established rhythm or theme for the work. In some cases, choreographic works may be intended to express–through bodily movement–the themes or emotions conveyed by a specific musical composition or literary work. See U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE, COPYRIGHT OFFICE STUDY NO. 28, COPYRIGHT IN CHOREOGRAPHIC WORKS, at 93 n.2 (1961) (“COPYRIGHT OFFICE STUDY NO. 28”) (“Choreography is commonly devised to be performed with music; the dance may be intended to express a theme suggested by the music, or the music may be intended to heighten the dramatic effect of the dance.”).


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