Copyright Law vs. Bad Dancingby Doug Mataconis
The inventor of the “Electric Slide,” an iconic dance created in 1976, is fighting back against what he believes are copyright violations and, more importantly, examples of bad dancing.
Kyle Machulis, an engineer at San Francisco’s Linden Lab, said he received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice about a video he had shot at a recent convention showing three people doing the Electric Slide.
“The creator of the Electric Slide claims to hold a copyright on the dance and is DMCAing every single video on YouTube” that references the dance, Machulis said. He’s also sent licensing demands to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Machulis added.
Indeed, Richard Silver, who filed the copyright for the Electric Slide in 2004, said on one of his Web pages that the DeGeneres Show had been putting up a legal fight as he tried to get compensation for a segment that aired in February 2006 in which actress Teri Hatcher and other dancers performed the popular wedding shuffle.
Silver, it seems, is quite serious about protecting his supposed intellectual property right in the electric slide:
It appears Silver has for several years aggressively defended his copyright on the dance. In 2004, Silver apparently wrote an e-mail to Donna Woolard, an associate professor of exercise science at North Carolina’s Campbell University, demanding she remove a video of the dance from a Web site. He complained the dance wasn’t being done correctly on the video, and Woolard took down the video.
according to e-mail correspondence posted by Woolard, that he had sued two Hollywood production companies for using the dance in several films and that he was now adding her as a co-defendant. It’s unclear what happened to the suit.
It’s stuff like this that makes me think that the entire idea of intellectual property is nonsense upon stilts.