Copyright Compendium

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808.10 (H) (2) Fixation of Live Dramatic Performances

808.10 (H) (2) Fixation of Live Dramatic Performances


As discussed in Section 808.2 (C) a dramatic work, such as a stage play or musical, may be fixed in a motion picture and a motion picture may be used as the deposit copy for the dramatic work. Typically, the director of a stage production creates a concept for how a work should be realized on the stage, including the movements of the characters on stage. Concepts and ideas are not protected by copyright, and the ordinary movement of characters on a stage is not a copyrightable element. Therefore, the registration specialist will refuse to register a claim in blocking, stage business, staging, or stage directions for a dramatic work when these terms refer to the movement of actors or the manner or method of their acting. See Sections 804.3 (D) (1) and 804.3 (D) (2). Likewise, if the applicant asserts a claim in the “motion picture,” the registration may cover the motion picture direction, but it will not cover the stage directions for the dramatic work.

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