Laws are for our protection. We have traffic and seat belt laws to keep us safe in case of a wreck. We have laws against armed robbery or breaking and entering to keep our families and possessions safe. There are also silly laws like one in Indiana: "Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March," or in Louisiana, "You may not tie an alligator to a fire hydrant." I can't tell you why these are on the books, but I suppose when they were passed, there was a good reason.
I grew up with two sisters. The three of us danced pretty much our whole lives--up through college years, and two of us continue to be a little involved as adults. My daughter, who is away at a major university has also grown up dancing. In fact, she is majoring in dance, and is on a team that I was on while majoring in dance at this same university. Twenty-seven years ago, when I was dancing on this same team, there were no video cameras to tape the shows we did so that we could reminisce in future years. I've always been sadden by this. I have many pictures, but no video of any of my dancing years. My daughter, on the other hand, has her own video camera, and has taped many of the pieces she has been in. Now that she is many miles away, I am so happy that I am able to see her dances through video. I may not be able to be there, but eventually I can see her talent growing.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of a show that her dance group has done through the years. They have invited all alumni to be a part of the show. Since I am an alumni of the team, I entertained the thought of going--but, with responsibilities at home, it was just not possible. I figured, well, I know I can't be there, but she will have a video of it, and I can enjoy the show when she brings it to me over the Christmas holidays (like she did last year with last year's show). Well, this is not going to happen. I just found out last night, that they will not be filming at all. Usually, they film, and broadcast it on the university's TV station (which through satellite I am able to watch). I was really looking forward to that.
So, why, you may be asking yourself, are they not taping the show? It is because of the copyright laws. Now, don't get the wrong idea. I do believe in copyright laws. I do believe that when one tapes a movie to avoid buying it, it is stealing. I also believe that when one downloads or copies a song without paying for it, it is also stealing. One other thing that has always irritated me, is when one writes a report for school and actually copies it from someone's work...this is also stealing. The laws have really gotten out of hand, though. It is getting to a point, that our little girls will not be able to be in a dance recital to any music because of these same copyright laws.
I remember when my daughter would find out what song they were going to be learning their new dance for recital or competitions. Many times, we had never heard of the song, and upon inquiring who the artist was, more times than not, we would go and purchase the CD. My daughter not only likes to dance, but she likes to put together montages of pictures and videos. She put one together for my 50th birthday. Many of her dance pieces and video montages are on youtube. Because of the copyright laws, they have taken many videos off, or like in the case of my 50th birthday video, changed the song. The song they put on does not even make since. My daughter always puts things together with the song. She also gives credit to the artist in her credits. In some of her work, she has used songs that are not popular, and many have made positive comments on the song and wanted to know who it was, so that they too could purchase the CD. To me, using these songs for dances in recitals, competitions, shows, etc. is like free advertisement for many artists.
In closing, I would like to say that I hope that many of these artists realize how important their music is to the dance world. How are the dancers suppose to express themselves without music? Music is so much a part of all of our lives, and I feel that the copyright laws need to be changed. There needs to be a compromise...