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Subject: "Bolshoi tour in jeapardy" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #109
Reading Topic #109
Eugene Merrett

04-07-99, 01:13 PM (GMT)
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"Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
 
   According the S. Times ther former AD of the Bolshoi Grigoritch (or something like that)is demanding 100,000 as royalties for La Bayadere,Raymonda and Sparticus. He is threatening court action if payment is not forthcoming.

Bolshoi's La Bayadere is pretty similar to Kirov version. As for Spartacus he should be paying the Bolshoi to perform it.

However I understand that Vasilev Swan Lake is not much cop as well!

But I would not worry about it - a British court I am sure will use every power in its means not to give an injunction!


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Stuart Sweeney 04-07-99 1
     RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Eugene Merrett 04-07-99 2
         RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Stuart Sweeney 04-07-99 3
             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Eugene Merrett 04-07-99 4
                 RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Julia Matheson 04-07-99 5
                     RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Dame Blandine 05-07-99 6
                         RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Eugene Merrett 05-07-99 7
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Anneliese 05-07-99 8
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Eugene Merrett 05-07-99 9
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Kate R 05-07-99 10
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Stuart Sweeney 05-07-99 11
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy Eugene Merrett 06-07-99 12
                             RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy shag 06-07-99 13

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Stuart Sweeney

04-07-99, 03:13 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #0
 
   The URL of the S. Times article is:

http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/Sunday-Times/stinwenws03026.html?999

I have to say that I hope and expect that any English Judge will make a decision on the basis of the case that is put before him. I am very keen that UK fans get the chance to see the Bolshoi. Nevertheless, intellectual property rights are important and it does seem perfectly reasonable that Grigorovich should share in the profits of his artistic labours if the Bolshoi is choosing to perform his works.


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Eugene Merrett

04-07-99, 05:52 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #1
 
   Yes but if there was a problem then it should have been brought to the courts much earlier. He cannot hold things to ransom by threatening a court injunction against performances at the very last minute. Otherwise any disgruntled director or actor can sabotage a tour.

I am sure any judge will take a very dim view of any last minute petition. The performances should be allowed to take place and issues such as payment and copyright should decided by the courts later.

Besides I do not think the Russia has very well developed copy right rules especially for dance.


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Stuart Sweeney

04-07-99, 07:03 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #2
 
   Well, I suspect that our combined knowledge base means that neither of us should be too dogmatic about this debate, but gross ignorance has never stopped me sounding off in the past:

>Yes but if there was a problem
>then it should have been brought
>to the courts much earlier.
>He cannot hold things to
>ransom by threatening a court injunction
>against performances at the very last
>minute. Otherwise any disgruntled director or
>actor can sabotage a tour.

I suspect that the onus is on the entrepreneur/company to ensure that they have the necessary permissions to perform a work. I'm sure that, down the road at SW, the RB has all the necessary approvals and has made all the necessary arrangements to pay any royalties that are required.

Anyone can take anything to court, but you cannot get a court injunction unless you have a good case. Thus a disgruntled director or actor must have a strong case as well as being disgruntled.

> I am sure any judge will
>take a very dim view of
>any last minute petition. The
>performances should be allowed to take
>place and issues such as payment
>and copyright should decided by the
>courts later.

Your certainty on this point shows that your detailed knowledge of copyright law and court precedents far exceeds mine.

>Besides I do not think the Russia
>has very well developed copy right
>rules especially for dance.

It occurs to me that as the performance is in this country, that it may well be the laws of the England which apply. I am aware that a wide range of books were published in the old USSR, without approval or payment, simply because it was the local laws that applied.

As I said earlier, I hope that the tour goes ahead *and* that the choreographer's intellectual copyright is protected and rewarded. I wonder how you would feel if someone had used your premises without your approval and the interloper then remarked to a Judge that you had not specifically said that they needed to get your approval for the use of the premises.

It occurs to me that some of the choreographers who read this site may wish to share their views with us, as they will be far better informed than me or, possibly, even Eugene. My knowledge of copyright law would go on the back of a postage stamp and still leave room for my name and address.



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Eugene Merrett

04-07-99, 09:26 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #3
 
   I do not deny the right of Mr G. to press for royalties from his "works" (again defined in the broadest possible terms). But it is the timing that it the problem.

He knew that the Bolshoi were coming from last January. That was the time to discuss royalties or go court if necessary. To go to the court at the last minute to demand an injunction against the Bolshoi is tantamount to extortion. The Bolshoi are committed to performing these works and have invested considerable amount of time in transporting sets and rehersal. They can't make last minutes substitions. An injunction would by itself be financially castastrophic for the company.


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Julia Matheson

04-07-99, 09:48 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #4
 
   In her Saturday piece in the Daily Telegraph, Ismene Brown implies that there had been some problems over Spartacus at least before the Company came - to quote "a dispute triggered by Grigorovich over royalties for Spartacus was simmering just before the British tour". It is surely the first responsibility of the Company to make sure that rights are cleared - the impresario has to trust the management concerned, up to a point. (This has been the case with everything I have been concerned with at least, both in the theatre and in television.)

Julia


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Dame Blandine

05-07-99, 07:20 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #5
 
   It is surely the
>first responsibility of the Company to
>make sure that rights are cleared
>- the impresario has to trust
>the management concerned, up to a
>point. (This has been the
>case with everything I have been
>concerned with at least, both in
>the theatre and in television.)
>Julia

Quite. Although I wonder if he has a case? Unless a copyright and royalty agreement were drawn up at the time of the first productions, wouldn't the company would be the first owner of the copyright as he Grigorievich would have been their employee at the time the work was done? If I were him, I'd get my fingers in the impressario's till - I'm sure they're not here through pure altruism.


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Eugene Merrett

05-07-99, 01:47 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #6
 
   I think the law in England is that copy right flows from the pen of the author (ie copyright is inferred automatically). That includes dance I suppose. I note that rights to La Fille Mal Gardee are owned by Alexander Grant (played Alain in the classic Collier video). I would assume that principal of copyright would apply to any work performed in England irrespective of the copyright laws of the country in which work was composed in - as far as performances of works in England, British law must apply.

It does seem peculier that a ballet made largely at the taxpayers expense by an employee should be automatically copyrighted by that employee. It gives the employee the best of both worlds - if it is financially unsuccesful the taxpayer is left holding the bag - if it is succesful he can withdraw the performances unless full market value is paid for it (without compensation for the taxpayer's risk). This point is very similar to the point I was made about compensating dancers for videos and TV work.


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Anneliese

05-07-99, 04:13 PM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #7
 
   There's a difference between a work that is created with an element of state subsidy and a work that is created by state employees. For example, it's very difficult for a scientific civil servant (like me!) to patent an invention as their own even if it's invented in their own time - it's assumed to belong to the crown. The big engineering companies put similar clauses in their contracts (if you invent something in the bath, tough, Marconi still own the IPR). This makes me wonder if company choreographers' contracts have similar clauses (eg do the BRB own the performance rights to Bintley's works or does he?).


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Eugene Merrett

05-07-99, 04:48 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #8
 
   Thats very interesting - I suppose it is reasonable for Marconi or the Crown to have rights to whatever their employees in invent. Most so called invention require so much of the companies expensive research equipment tthat perhaps they should have rights to anything they invent. There are also pratical reasons. Issues like who has IPR could clog the courts for ever.

Of course choreography is slightly difference. One does not need company assets to choreograph a new work. He/she could do it in the bath. But in practice he/she needs the dancers to work with,

There is also the problem that there was almost certainly no concept of copyright in the Soviet Union. It was assumed that all property belongs to the State.


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Kate R

05-07-99, 06:56 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #9
 
   Thank you all for a very entertaining afternoon. Your musings have been circulated round the office. Mr G's tactics have to be applauded. Just the sort of advice he would receive from my collegues downstairs who are known as the most agressive litigators in town.

If you want a more detailed opinion of the legal technicalities and cross-border jusisdictional issues which you raise, one can be given but we come at v expensive per hour/page. However I have to say that we are worth every penny.


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Stuart Sweeney

05-07-99, 08:49 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #10
 
   Kate - I think we really do have to get the bottom of this. So, go ahead and give us the expensive, (but, I'm sure *extremely* good value)definitive legal opinion, taking acount of all the various jurisdictions. Not forgetting, of course, that the Bolshoi will be in the US next year, so you should certainly seek the views of your US office. Ensuring, of course, that they cover the full range of possibilities in all the various states where the Bolshoi will be performing.

Suggest you send the bill to whoever has shown the most interest in this topic by making the highest number of Postings. Let me just check - yes, that will be Eugene.


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Eugene Merrett

06-07-99, 09:56 AM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #11
 
   Comment made by Kate make me so happy that I have left the profesions and gone into business with my brothers. To actually create something is so much more rewarding then to create work for other people. I was appalled at the way we were robbing hard working clients blind with extraenous legal and accounting issues.

The only legal advisor who ever gave me value for money is now in prison for bribing a tax inspector! We do 95% of all the legal work ourselves for my company saving 10s of thousands of pounds. We use to employ solicitors for licensing hearings etc. They were just a waste of money! I can tell you from experience that US attorneys provide much better value for money the their English counterparts for non-litigation work.


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shag

06-07-99, 05:00 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Bolshoi tour in jeapardy"
In response to message #12
 
   On behalf of the American Bar, I thank you!

Kirk


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