Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

The Times, the Trust and the Treaties


Recommended Posts

I'm a little surprised the New York Times would get The George Balanchine Foundation and the George Balanchine Trust mixed up. It can be confusing, but on the other hand, we're talking the New York Times.

"Cuba does not acknowledge the Geneva Conventions, so we have no control over what they might perform," said Ellen Sorrin, the director of the Balanchine Foundation in New York. "If they lived anywhere else in the world, they'd have to license the ballets. The copyrights are owned. None of those ballets are in the public domain.''

The foundation's mission is to preserve the artistic integrity of Balanchine's legacy. As part of the licensing process, the foundation sends a teacher to present the material on a new company. It also charges a fee and, said Ms. Sorrin, vigorously pursues any copyright violations that come to its attention.

I believe Ellen Sorrin is the director of the Trust and Lourdes Lopez the director of the Foundation.

The George Balanchine Foundation Board & Staff

NYCB Personnel

Link to comment

I can believe that Cuba does not recognize the Geneva Conventions, but those are on the treatment of Prisoners of War. The Berne Conventions are about International Copyright. Oh well, it's all Switzerland.

I can see it now: "The Detaining Power shall not have the authority to force ballet lessons on Prisoners of War." Now THERE'S a war crime!

Link to comment

Off topic -

Mel, do you really think there are countries that don't recognise the Geneva Conventions? I think usually the discussion is whether they are applicable - i.e. who is a POW? In any case, I believe that manu of the provisions of the Geneva Conventions are considered law by virtue of custom.

Link to comment

Oh, no, I take full blame for the title. I just wanted it on its own so discussion of copyright could ensue, if that's what we want to do. If not, that's fine too.

And yes, the Geneva Conventions are not binding on nations not signatory to them. The older concept of "the Usage and Custom of Nations" however, has led to a general consensus that they should be followed in any conflict. There are even passages dealing with undeclared wars, so that little fig-leaf is gone now. But you'll still find certain nations that call their prisoners by titles not covered by the Treaties.

Ballet Theatre vs. Ballet Russe, now THERE was a war!

Same goes for the Berne Conventions. Taiwan, for example is not a signatory to the Berne Convention, and neither is the PRC, I believe. That's why so many "pirate" books, cassettes, and CDs have come from there. It would be EXTRA interesting to see a Peking ballet company do "Concerto Barocco" with the two soloists sporting AK-47s, and it would be very difficult for the Balanchine Estate, whether as Trust or Foundation, to do anything about it.

Link to comment

A bit tangential to this thread, but interesting... Richard Tanner has been in Seattle, setting Prodigal on PNB, and he's been kind enough to participate in the post-show Q&A that the company does. In an answer to one question about staging and copyright, he remarked that at some point the Balanchine work will all be in public domain and that you could "get a tape and do it" (my paraphrase). I cannot, off the top of my head, remember how long standard copyright lasts, and for how long it can be renewed (and indeed these seem to change whenever it looks like Mickey Mouse is in danger of entering public domain) but I thought it was an interesting comment for him to make. Indeed, at some point, Balanchine's work might be more like Petipa's -- the backbone of a ballet but not always the details.

Link to comment
A bit tangential to this thread, but interesting...  Richard Tanner has been in Seattle, setting Prodigal on PNB, and he's been kind enough to participate in the post-show Q&A that the company does.  In an answer to one question about staging and copyright, he remarked that at some point the Balanchine work will all be in public domain and that you could "get a tape and do it" (my paraphrase).  I cannot, off the top of my head, remember how long standard copyright lasts, and for how long it can be renewed (and indeed these seem to change whenever it looks like Mickey Mouse is in danger of entering public domain) but I thought it was an interesting comment for him to make.  Indeed, at some point, Balanchine's work might be more like Petipa's -- the backbone of a ballet but not always the details.

I think that eventually a Company will be able to produce the bootleg version, or the "certified" one with the text in the program about how it was produced using the standards of the Trust (copyright). In one of the Q&As, I think from Romeo and Juliet, when the legacy question came up, Russell described cleaning up a Balanchine ballet in China that had been staged from tapes, without permission from the Trust.
Link to comment

What is the difference between trademark and copyright? I seem to remember that the Balanchine technique is trademarked, or at least seeing something to that effect on a program. I assume trademarks last as long as the corporations that own them do? Why can you trademark technique but not a choreography? Why can Coke be protected but not Concerto Barocco?

Link to comment

The content of Balanchine Technique is not trademarked, but the names "Balanchine", "Balanchine Technique" and "Balanchine Style" are. The intellectual content of Balanchine Technique could be copyrighted, but to my knowledge, nobody has sat down and doped out exactly what that is! Whoever organizes it in a form suitable for copyright will have to be at least as great a genius as Balanchine himself was. Choreography can be copyrighted by content.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...