Why Solving Copyright Matters

It’s the abusive extension that’s a problem. As this article shows, it serves an important purpose: All the Right Moves — Dance Notation Bureau

The dance world was shocked when, at the end of October 2005, the Dance Notation Bureau suddenly laid off five of its six staff members and announced that it had run out of money. The bureau, the repository of hundreds of dance scores that use a system of symbols called Labanotation to document a vast range of choreographic oeuvres, had been quietly going about its work since 1940, most recently in its cramped offices and archives on West 30th Street in Manhattan. Despite its perpetual need for money, it always seemed to be one of the many struggling arts organizations that somehow manage to survive.

Since those dark days at the end of 2005 the bureau has staged a remarkable renaissance. It has raised more than $1 million from foundations, government and private donors and has expanded its staff to nine. A $500,000 endowment has been established to safeguard its future. The creation of a database and the digitization of the entire collection — including scores, films, videotapes, photographs, programs and posters — have begun, thanks to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. In addition an ambitious project to notate seven works by Martha Graham is under way, alongside the business-as-usual aspects of checking scores, teaching future notators, and licensing and staging works all over the world.