26
Dec/06

Hula Dance Copyright Dispute


hula 1988 reece.jpghula stained glass.jpg
From the decision:
“The hula is a general name for many types of Hawaiian folk dances. . . Hula movements have standard forms and to perform an `ike motion, “a dancer raises one hand out and one arm is bent at the elbow and the hand is open and placed behind the eye with the thumb facing downwards and the finger to show the seeing motion.” . . . At the hearing, de Silva testified that the right hand would naturally be up — “always up because your knowledge does not come from yourself. It comes from your kupuna.[16] It comes from everything that’s come before you and that’s always up towards the heavens.”
. . .
The angle and perspective of the pieces are very similar (both viewed in profile
from the dancer’s left side), but the position of the subject dancer relative to her
setting is not. The dancer in “Makanani” kneels in the shorebreak with waves
splashing her knees, facing the ocean, and appears large and tightly focused in
relation to the unfocused shoreline distant in the background. On the other hand,
the dancer in “Nohe” kneels on the beach, but does not face the ocean — which is
directly behind her — and the top portion of the piece is dominated by the smaller
island jetting out of the ocean. The angle and position of the dancers’ bodies are
in the standard `ike position, but even those angles vary slightly.
. . .
The medium each artist has chosen in which to express the hula
kahiko performance contributes to the different feel and concept of the works as a
whole. The sepia photograph’s stark contrasts between darkness and light are
characteristic of the Plaintiff’s choice of film, exposure and timing. An entirely
different feeling emerges from the brightly colored and textured stained glass
collage, which can be viewed from either the front or reverse.
Decision in preliminary injunction motion here.
Hawaiian Advertiser story of case here.

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