Is hula choreography intellectual property?

The blog “Ae Love Hula” has a thoughtful post about the lawsuit in Japan that sought to stop unauthorized use of a kumu hulaʻs choreography. The decision, favor of the kumu hula, recognizes an important principle:  that the choreography created by a kumu or instructor is the intellectual property of that instructor. One of the impacts of this ruling is to establish that choreographies that have been passed down over multiple generations have passed into the public domain, and no one person or entity is entitled to copyright such a choreography.

But when the choreography IS the creative work of an individual or group of people in the present, it IS intellectual property of the creator, and that creator has the right to ensure that their work is not infringed upon, or used without authorization.

Being pono, in this case, is respecting that contemporary choreography is the work of its creator.

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