So you’ve decided you’re going to do a little dance at your friend’s wedding as a funny gift. You’ve seen the stuff they do at weddings – you could totally do that!
Now, what dance should you do?
You start scrolling through YouTube to watch all kinds of dance videos. You find a combination you like. That’s it! That’s the dance you’ll perform!
That choreography is somebody’s work up there. Heck, it might even be their livelihood. Do you have permission to use it?
You might be thinking, “Heather, if it’s on the internet, it’s fair game. People are going to see this and use it.”
Maybe. And maybe people don’t know better.
Maybe people haven’t stopped to think that choreographers pay their bills by taking on clients for wedding dances. Maybe it hadn’t occurred to them that choreography is a paid service, just like photography, and catering, and accounting, and spa treatments.
Maybe they don’t know that it’s not the best practice to—let’s be honest—steal choreography.
Imagine you perfected a project at work and then a co-worker claimed that project as their own – I imagine you’d be pretty miffed. Choreographers are the same. They don’t like it when people claim their choreography as their own or forget to give credit.
I’m not here to shame you. The internet is moving way too fast for us and copyright laws to keep up with it.
But that’s why I’m encouraging you to pause to think about what you do online and who’s intellectual property you might be ‘borrowing’. Is this something you would have to pay for someone to help you with if you didn’t find it lying around online? Then maybe you should rethink using it without permission.
“But what can I do, then?”
You can ask for permission from the creator.
We love hearing that our work is appreciated! The creator will likely give you some guidelines for using their work – probably giving them credit in your program or post or whatever.
You can tag the creator.
This way, you’re giving credit where credit is due, and the creator can share your videos and pictures of their work with their audience.
You can hire a creator.
This is really the ideal way this situation plays out. Creators make money from people buying their product or service. So if you want photos, choreography, calligraphy, music, whatever, hire somebody! Help somebody pay their bills, while still getting what you need. Everybody wins!
Again, no shame. Just a friendly suggestion for thinking about the people who put time and effort into their work.
Pay your artists! And have a great day!