Is There Any-Body on Stage? A Legal (Mis)understanding of Performances

Mathilde Pavis, Founding Member New IP Lawyers, University of Exeter

This article investigates the legal narrative which frames the protection of performances. The author uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the overlap between the narratives describing performers’ creativity present in the performing art studies and in the legal jurisprudence. To this end, the analysis questions whether the law has followed similar theoretical evolutions these creative fields experienced. It is argued that a fundamental theoretical gap still separates the two worlds on core issues like creativity, authorship or performance. This article identifies when such a divide occurred and attempts to explain why such split has not yet been bridged by policy-makers. The artistic practice of Disability Dance is used to highlight the possible causes of lawyers’ (mis)understanding of the act of performing but is also presented as an argument for reform.

Key words: copyright; performers’ rights; originality; embodiment

Link to the Original Article: Pavis, M. (2016), Is There Any-Body on Stage? A Legal (Mis)understanding of Performances. The Journal of World Intellectual Property, 19: 99–114. doi: 10.1111/jwip.12056

The article is the winning Essays of the 2015 Worldwide Essay Contest of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP)



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