Kool Ravers wants dancers to secure copyrights for their creations
Chevoy Grant, more popularly known as Kool Ravers of the Ravers Clavers dance crew, says he wants the relevant authorities to help dancers secure their 'bags' by making it easier for them to copyright their moves.
This after a variation of his dance, Fling was used in the Christmas advertisement for British clothing company, Mark and Spencer. Though dubbed the 'shoulder roll' for the ad purposes, Kool Ravers says the 60-second promotional video clearly borrows from the dance move he created back in 2017.
"People have been telling me it looks like it (Fling) but it's just something close and I should be careful. When I see dem pass the first variation (there are four variations of Fling) and into the other three throughout the entire commercial, me a say no man, this is definitely Fling," he said. "Mi hear say is a man weh born in Jamaica do the choreography but him live overseas and when me hear dat, it just confirm fi me say a definitely Fling dem use. If the guy who choreographed it is said to be Jamaican, what more proof you need."
"We need to try and see as an industry how we can clamp down on things like these and we affi start by securing our creations in law. I don't think I'm the first person this happen to and I know I won't be the last. Me know say Fling did a go big and I wished that there was something in law to say that if yuh use this move or any variation of it, you're breaking the law. I been searching and all I been hearing is that it (licensing) a dance move is difficult to do. I don't know if anyone has ever done it before, but it shouldn't be so hard. Dancehall could really benefit if the creations were being protected. There is a lot of money being generated from our culture every year and dancehall is still not benefiting," he said.
Back in 2016, when New Zealand choreographer Parris Goebel used several dance moves created by Jamaicans for Justin Beiber's Sorry music video, the issue of copyrighting Jamaican dance moves was also brought up.
Back then, THE STAR learnt that while it was possible to copyright choreographed routines, registering individual dance moves was next to impossible. It's been three years but the latter has not changed.
According to entertainment lawyer and former manager of copyright and related rights at the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Joan Elizabeth Webley, the problem with copyrighting solo dance moves lies within proving that the particular dance move is a unique creation that doesn't borrow from anyone else.
"A lot of our Jamaican dances have African retention so it's a little bit difficult to give an individual copyrights to a specific move because it's possible that move borrows from something else that already exists. But if the copyright issues are going to change, it's going to come through an industry effort. Shifts can occur and things can change but the only way that happened is if the case is made by the industry as a whole," she said.