strathspey Archive: Copyright cheatsheets

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Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3671 · Ian Price · 22 Feb 1996 20:15:02 · Top

>Sorry Ian, I agree with Anselm and disagree with you. Rewriting dance
>instructions is rarely an intellectual effort but rather a quick and
>expedient method of reproducing instructions. They are often incorrect and
>incomplete. I would not wish to participate in any compilation of such crib
>sheets. I have a hard enough time with teachers who teach from Pillings or
>other such cribs, much less have them become a standard for dancers.
>
>Haven't we been down this path before?
>
>
>Marjorie McLaughlin
>RSCDS SD@aol.com
>San Diego, California

The issue is not whether we want to, but whether we legally _can_. I would have
to agree that if I was attending an RSCDS class under an RSCDS-licensed teacher,
I would expect that teacher to teach from RSCDS material. In most other subjects
however, teachers produce handouts...

Which begs the next hot question. Should RSCDS teachers teach non-RSCDS dances
in Branch classes? I expect a lot of opinions on this one :-)

Incidentally,

>Rewriting dance
>instructions is rarely an intellectual effort but rather a quick and
>expedient method of reproducing instructions.

Even if the 'intellectual effort' is minimal, it is usually sufficient to derail
a copyright action.

I'm going to reprint part of a private reply to another list subscriber because
it makes one or two things clearer. The way people are talking here, it would be
a capital offence even to use the reply-quoting feature on our e-mail editors!!

-------------------[begins]----------------------
Copyright law is very simple - if you can show you made an _additional_ creative
contribution to a piece of work, you (automatically) have a copyright on it. In
the current context, you can't reprint either the RSCDS notes or someone else's
cribsheets __verbatim__, __without their permission__, but if you have developed
your own set of cribsheets you can post them to kingdom come.

Example:-
I hold the copyright on all the _arrangements_ of every SCD tune I have written
out for either Schiehallion or the VFO; I have a book of 'em 4" thick! This is
because the bass and chord lines come right out of my head, even though the
melodies can be quite recognisable. Since I hold the copyright, I can make
copies for the musicians who play for me to read from. When other people want to
play these tunes using my arrangements, they have to get my permission to make
an additional copy to play from. I am always delighted to give this permission
unreservedly, asking only for a 'plug' as the _arranger_ of the tune. Same
policy with my original compositions, which follows a piece of advice given to
me by Jimmy Shand Snr. many, many years ago. I think I mentioned before he gets
really PO'd when he sees tunes he wrote 40 years ago being attributed to 'Trad.'
on record sleeves!

Even if the material is not your own copyright, you will only get into a
copyright fight if you reprint without permission and against the wishes of the
copyright holder. I find it unusual for permission to be unreasonably withheld,
usually for reasons of negative financial impact. In such a case, the adverse
reaction to a cheatsheet copyright holder suing for copyright infringement
because he's trying to make a living selling them, might result in his being
laughed out of SCD.

-------------------[ends]-------------------------

regards,

2chter

Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3674 · Alex Tweedly · 22 Feb 1996 20:35:46 · Top


> The issue is not whether we want to, but whether we legally _can_. I
> would have to agree that if I was attending an RSCDS class under an
> RSCDS-licensed teacher, I would expect that teacher to teach from
> RSCDS material.

Whether RSCDS or not, I'd expect a teacher to teach from complete
description, not a cribsheet.

> In most other subjects however, teachers produce
> handouts... Which begs the next hot question. Should RSCDS teachers
> teach non-RSCDS dances in Branch classes? I expect a lot of opinions
> on this one :-)

Really ?
I only expect two opinions - the 'yes' one and the 'no' one.
Of course, people will add reasoning etc. to make it interesting.:-)

FWIW, my opinion is yes.

-- Alex Tweedly.

Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3675 · Anselm Lingnau · 22 Feb 1996 21:23:59 · Top

Ian Price <73707.523@compuserve.com> writes:

> I would have
> to agree that if I was attending an RSCDS class under an RSCDS-licensed
> teacher, I would expect that teacher to teach from RSCDS material. In most
> other subjects however, teachers produce handouts...

There is nothing wrong with that. What I don't really like is teachers
(RSCDS or otherwise) teaching off handouts that were copied from the
handout some other teacher produced from his own handwritten notes jotted
down during the tea-break at a day school five years ago. I have to admit
that, from a dancer's point of view as opposed to a copyright lawyer's
(which I am not) I would much rather see the original instructions
photocopied than condensed into an abbreviated `crib'.

I think that in this case the spirit of the law is more important than
the letter. Yes, rewriting dance instructions may be enough of an
`intellectual effort' to `derail a copyright action' (Ian's words). However,
that effort is probably also enough to make the instructions less clear.
It is not altogether easy to write up instructions for a dance that are
both concise and complete; assuming that the original deviser spends more
time on the wording than somebody who is putting together a quick crib
sheet for next week's ball, what does that tell us about the likely
quality of the crib? Which does not mean that the crib is useless for
its purpose (your knowing what to do at the ball) -- my point is that you
shouldn't then mail the selfsame crib to your friend over in the US so
she can use it for teaching the fun dances from the programme.

Having said that, the other day I finished the Pilling-style diagrams
for this year's Frankfurt Spring Ball programme. For reasons too
complicated to go into here, our programme normally contains a fair number
of off-mainstream dances that some people in groups here in Germany are
unlikely to have original instructions available for. Therefore, and
because most of these people will not balk at teaching dances off cribs
anyway, I try to make sure that the diagrams contain more information
than what is usual in the original Pilling book, if that is necessary.
Actually, I draw them myself rather than photocopy them from the book.
(We do have original instructions for the dances on the programme
ourselves, and use these for preparing the cribs and ball re-caps.)
So much for the true confessions; it would be lovely if everybody had
original instructions for all the dances in the world, but we also want
our ballroom sold out, thank you very much.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau ......................... lingnau@tm.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de
A man about to speak the truth should keep one foot in the stirrup.
--- Old Mongolian Saying

Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3680 · Lara D. Friedman · 23 Feb 1996 04:11:20 · Top

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all for copyright, a conviction that has been
reinforced by my recent studies for a Master of Information and Library
Studies degree. However, am I the only one who thinks that it's a bit
unnatural to restrict dances taught only to those for which one has a
legal and complete copy of the original instructions? While I agree
that it should be considered a violation of copyright (or at the very
least, a discourtesy to the author) to widely distribute or publish
cribs, it seems entirely natural that one sees a dance (at a day school, a
demonstration, ball or whatever), perhaps makes some notes to aid the
memory and then teaches it to others. Isn't that how people have learned
dances for far longer than formal instructions have been around? While
you can perhaps copyright a specific set of dance instructions, I don't
think you can copyright the dance as a physical entity, nor would it be
desirable. Even though it may lead to some "unauthorized" changes in the
dance, I believe it is a healthy phenomenon.

--Lara

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Life is a test. It is only a test.
Lara Friedman If this were your actual life, you
laradf@alumni.sils.umich.edu would have been given better
instructions!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3688 · Margaret Connors · 23 Feb 1996 14:04:10 · Top

Greetings to All!

As the person who prepares the crib sheets for our socials and as
someone who has been dancing for a year and a few months, here are my two
cents worth:

Crib sheets are useful for beginners or for those who have not been
dancing very long. Dances at socials come from a variety of sources, some
of which may not be readily available to everyone. The dances at our
socials are taken from 12 - 16 different books. Beginners usually do not
have easy access to these books.

Should crib sheets be widely distributed? Probably not. It does not
take me very long to generate this material; the intellectual effort is
not very taxing ;-) (by the way, all devisers of dances are acknowledged).
Errors do occur. I recently had the experience of using directions taken
from a crib that were not correct. I now make sure that I work from
originals (and the description in the original can be ambiguous,
misleading, or contain typos as well). The directions are written with the
beginners in mind and one of our teachers proof reads for me. I also have
a live in critic in the form of a teen-aged daughter who does not hesitate
to let me know when she doesn't like my descriptions!

Crib sheets are meant to be just that, crib sheets. It is useful to
have the dances for a particular social available all together. Although
most of the dances at our socials can be found in Pilling, there may be
two or three that are not.

Dancers certainly should be encouraged to acquire their own original
publications, but it takes a while to build up a varied collection.

Happy dancing!

Margaret Connors
St. John's, Newfoundland
Canada

Copyright cheatsheets

Message 3705 · Alan Paterson · 25 Feb 1996 11:25:44 · Top

> In most other subjects however, teachers produce
> handouts... Which begs the next hot question. Should RSCDS teachers
> teach non-RSCDS dances in Branch classes? I expect a lot of opinions
> on this one :-)

In my (limited) experience most RSCDS teachers which I have encountered
*outwith* the Summer School at St. Andrews have always used non-RSCDS
dances as part of their courses. These teachers include (in no
particular order) Bill Zobel, Linda Gaul, Mary Murray, Johann MacLean,
Bill Ireland, Derek Haynes, Jim Rae - a pretty high-powered list. It's
evidently a matter of personal preference - as it should be.

Alan Paterson
Berne, Switzerland
alan@paranor.ch

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