Being vigilant and aware of protecting your own creations provisions a considerable amount of credibility. The fact that you have produced something new and unique always confers a certain level of pride from within. The present article is a discussion upon one such element that has always been a reason of entertainment and still continues to be one of the most sought after modes of recognition.

The dance moves or styles or steps can be protected under various branches of intellectual property rights upon segregation. Starting off with its protectability under the Copyright Act, 1957, the same falls under the purview of “Dramatic work”. The Copyright Act defines dramatic work under section 2(h) as:

“Dramatic work” includes any piece for recitation, choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show, the scenic arrangement or acting, form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not include a cinematograph film.”

The above definition categorically excludes cinematograph film from its ambit. The act also mentions that dramatic works would mean to “form the text upon which the performance of the play rests”. By a combined observation of the section 2(f) and 2(xxa) of the said Act, it is amply clear that cinematographic film would mean to include a visual record of moving images or of the representations thereof thereby excluding dance steps. Hence, in order to protect dance steps, it should first be reduced into writing that is to state that reduced into permanent form while indicating the mode by which it should be expressed. Compliance with the above-mentioned conditions renders certain rights to the creators as provisioned under Section 14 of the Copyright Act. In addition to that, Section 38 of the Act elaborates upon the rights of the performer that accrues after the performer engages or appears in any performance. By virtue of both these sections, the performer is granted exclusive rights as enumerated under the Section 14.


While dance moves can be copyrighted as elaborated above, other elements such as the dance style (name or representation) can be trademarked accordingly. Illustratively, the term “ballet” must have been coined for a particular dance move. Similarly, design law can protect specific costumes and the techniques can be safeguarded under the patents.


The scope of protection under intellectual property is enormous and well-defined. With the advancement in technology and its implementation, the need to not be ignorant should be prioritised. As encapsulated in the present article, a unique portrayal of one’s expression can give rise to so many rights and hence, it’s high time that we acknowledge our peculiar ideas, their mode of implementation and at the same time PROTECT THEM AS OURS.