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Abhay Nevagi & Associates


This post seeks to address two crucial questions –

  • Can exercise routine be copyrighted?
  • Under what head would one get a copyright?

Copyright gives protection to original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Such work should be in the form of expression and not a mere idea. So the two main criteria to be eligible for copyright protection are fixation and originality. The work should be the original work of the author and in order to be an expression it should be fixed into a tangible form. One does not need to register for a copyright to subsist. Copyright exists from the moment a work is created and registration with the Copyright Office is not compulsory; however, registration does provide the creator with additional enforcement rights.

Coming to the question in debate can exercise routine be copyrighted? Well, the answer to it is, YES! Exercise routines are nothing but the sequence of steps and movements in which motion and form are both specified also known as choreography. But, before anyone thinks that any dance move can be copyrighted, he/she is absolutely wrong. In order for a copyright to be granted for a dance routine it has to be a combination of steps that are arranged into an integrated coherent and expressive as a whole. It needs to be an entirely new routine with elements of traditional choreography or pantomime.

The next question that arises is under what head would one get a copyright? The answer to that would be under the head of “dramatic work”, since Section 2 (h) of The Copyright Act, 1957 includes “Choreographic work”. Now, in order to fix the expression on has to record the exercise routine in multimedia format. Such fixation should be closely monitored in order to make sure no infringing element is included in the recording.

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