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T in Oklahoma (Okiemockbird) ©: How copyright crushed a ballet (4) RE: : How copyright crushed a ballet 20 Jul 00


Here is an account of another case of the use of copyright to suppress dance, and in an attempt to suppress speech. In this case, "Frostburg University abruptly eliminated all of [modern dance pioneer Martha] Graham's dances from a three-week educational retreat...after Graham's legal heir, Ron Protas, demanded the dismissal of several teachers who were scheduled to participate. His lawyer also sought a ban on readings from any of Graham's writings on the basis that Mr. Protas had inherited the rights to her works, including books and letters....Michael Quinn, the lawyer representing Mr. Protas, said that the Martha Graham Trust had offered to let the university use the licensed works without charge for teaching lessons. But he said the trust took issue with allowing supporters of the boycott letter to choreograph and perform Graham works....as of Friday the trust was seeking permission to send a nonparticipating observer to monitor the classes to make sure there is no teaching of Graham." (Emphasis added).

The trust's position seems self-contradictory. If it merely didn't want the three teachers contributing to a performance of one of Graham's works, why is it trying to suppress all teaching of Graham and reading from her works? Why didn't it revoke only the performance license?

So, does copyright here "promote the progress of science and useful arts ?"

T.


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