Copyright Laws on Exercise Routines

By Holly Cameron

Title 17 of the U.S. Code extends copyright protection to original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Exercise routines that fall within any of these categories may be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright does not extend to ideas or concepts that have not been fixed in a tangible form. To benefit from copyright protection, the creator of an original routine must therefore either write it down or record it in a video or multimedia format.

Copyright Protection

Copyright laws do not protect an exercise routine itself but will protect the form of expression chosen by the creator. If the creator of an exercise routine produces a written description or a multimedia recording, he may register the description or recording with the U.S. Copyright Office. The law then protects that description or recording from unauthorized copying by other individuals and organizations. Copyright exists from the moment a work is created and registration with the Copyright Office is not compulsory; however, registration does provide the creator with additional enforcement rights.

Choreographic Works

The U.S. Copyright Office defines choreography as the arrangement and composition of dance movements or patterns, usually intended to be accompanied by music. The creator of an exercise routine with music may therefore apply to obtain copyright protection within this category. To register a choreographic work, the creator may send the Copyright Office either a film or video recording of the routine or a precise description of it in written form or in a dance notation system. Once registered, the creator can sue anyone who reproduces or distributes his recording or written description of the routine.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Multimedia Works

According to the Copyright Office, a multimedia work combines authorship in two or more media. A multimedia exercise routine could therefore include text, choreography or music. The nature of a multimedia work means that it can incorporate more than one copyrightable element. For the purposes of copyright registration, the creator should identify each element before applying for registration. If in doubt, the Copyright Office can provide guidance.

Fair Use

All copyrighted works may be reproduced by others without charge for the purposes of scholarship, teaching, research or news reporting. This is known as the “fair use” exception under Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Fair use must be non-commercial and must not affect the market value of the original work in a material manner. A school or college may therefore be able to use elements of a copyrighted exercise routine for educational purposes.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
Comic Copyright Laws
 

References

Related articles

Copyright & Fair Use Guidelines for School Projects

Using materials created by other people in a school project isn't necessarily a violation of the copyright laws. Students routinely lift images from web pages to illustrate a science project or quote passages from books in class papers. While the copyright law often protects such materials, the act of copying them may be protected by the fair use exception of the copyright law.

Are College Lectures Copyrighted?

Copyright laws protect creators of original works by giving them the exclusive right to profit from their work for a specified length of time. College lectures can be copyrighted, but only to the extent they meet the copyright law requirements for originality and tangibility. The copyright for a college lecture may be held by the professor or college, depending on the terms of the professor's employment agreement.

Copyrights for Artwork

Copyright is usually associated with text and music, but it also covers most works of art — even sculpture. As long as the work is "fixed," which means it is in a tangible form, copyright rules apply. It is important for artists to be aware of these rules in order to protect themselves and their art.

Related articles

Can Therapeutic Techniques Be Copyrighted?

The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 guarantees the ability of creators to profit from their original work. However, the act ...

Video Copyright Laws

Copyright laws prohibit unauthorized copying or reproduction of original audiovisual works. In today’s digital world, ...

Copyright Laws for Playwrights

Copyright laws in the United States encourage the creation of dramatic works by granting exclusive rights to the ...

What Are the Copyright Laws for Images?

Digital cameras and social networking sites have led to an increase in the volume of images across the media. Anyone ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED