Welcome to the last post of Business of Belly Dance Series Part 2!
In my last post, I shared my tips on video making for dancers and focused on the technical aspect of video making like camera, lighting and your on-camera personality.
In today’s post, I want to talk about protecting your copyright and choreography online.
A quick disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer, and what I’m about to share with you is completely based on my own experience and lessons learned from sharing hundreds of videos online.
So, many dancers are worried about sharing their performance videos online, because someone may copy and steal their choreography and perform it elsewhere without getting your permission, paying you or even giving you any credit.
It’s a legitimate concern.
How can you protect your choreography online?
I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is, in the online world, you cannot protect your choreography from being copied 100%.
But the good news is there are a few things you can do to discourage people from copying your work or using your work as if it’s their own.
For example, you can remind people to give you credit if you don’t mind people copying but want credit. Some people share things online without knowing that they have to credit the source or they may just forget it.
You can add a small watermark or logo or URL to your website in your videos, so people will know right away that the video belongs to you.
BUT I don’t do any of these to my free videos or even course videos.
Because really, not many people copy and steal others’ work.
It’s only happened to me 2-3 times in the last 4 years.
The scale of my work is not THAT big, but tens of thousands of people visit Sparkly Belly every month, so compared to that, 2-3 incidents seem like a very small number to me. 🙂
There have been a few instances where people told me that someone had used my images without giving me credit. And I’ve been very fortunate because some of them went back to those people and told them that’s not the right thing to do.
I’m very grateful that people support my work this way, and it’s true, no one should steal my work.
But I’m starting to think that when people copy my work, that’s a confirmation that people like my stuff! I can trust my work and keep creating!
Secret is this: Shift Your Focus
When you give your 100% to your art and performance, and if someone steal your ideas, that hurts.
BUT. Don’t think that you can’t create anything better.
You have to remember as soon as the piece is performed, it’s work of your past. You have to believe that you can keep creating performances that are just as good or better.
That’s what I think it means to be a dancer or artist who keeps learning and growing. Maybe by the time you realize someone copied your choreo, you are way ahead of the game and may not even care if someone copied your piece from the past.
You may even feel proud that your performance was watched and appreciated by many people, and you inspired someone with your beautiful performance so much that they wanted to mimic you.
We’ve all learned and got inspired by dancers that came before us. We’ve all learned by copying our teachers.
Stealing a choreo is definitely not a good practice, but as long as you share your work online, it’s impossible to protect it 100%.
But there are so many benefits to sharing your work online which helps you grow as a dancer, instructor, and business person.
Once you post a video, it’ll be there for people to enjoy for many years to come. Be sure to include an URL to your website in the video and description, so people who love your work and want to learn from you or hire you for performance can get in touch with you.
Focus on creating useful things for people, because you’ve got great things to share with the world, and don’t worry about the tiny percentage of people who may cheat. Those good people who will enjoy your work shouldn’t be punished and deprived of seeing your creations because of those few bad people.
I think if you want to be someone who can create a positive impact on people’s lives or create that excitement and joy in people’s hearts, you have to be able to see beyond the few that may steal a small piece of your pie. 🙂
That’s what I think! So I want to encourage you to share your work, so that people can see and learn more about you and belly dancing. And together, let’s bring more energy and inspiration to the lovely belly dancing communities around the world!
I hope this post was helpful, and if you’ve hesitated to share your work online, I hope you got inspired to take action!
Whether you agree or disagree, share this video with your dancer friends and share your opinions in the comment! I’d love to hear what you think.
And if you want to learn more about how you can share your work online and turn your passion into a business, check out my e-book “Belly Dancer in Business: Practical Tips on Online Marketing & Business for Artist Oriented Minds” 🙂
Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!
P.S. I run this Business of Belly Dance series only once a year. Do you want more? Click here to get the free ebook “Introduction to Business of Belly Dance” and get notified when the next series comes out!