Copyrightability of Sports Celebration Moves under the Indian Law



In today’s time and age, every aspect of a sportsperson’s personality has come to be desired by the public at large. From Virat Kahli’s dance mid matches, to M.S. Dhoni’s victory gesture after his winning sixer on the field. These moves have acquired widespread fame across the globe and are termed as ‘Celebration Moves’ in common parlance.


Sports Celebration Moves are original, choreographed moves, designed and performed by sportspersons for the purpose of celebrating their athletic feats.[i] They are creative, original, and unique moves, put together by their effort and skill, that serve only as a tangential part of any game. This article endeavours to analyse whether these celebration moves of sportspersons are copyrightable in India along with comparison with other jurisdictions.


Sports celebration moves, though generally misconstrued as sports moves, are distinct moves. Ordinary sports moves are standardized, commonly performed moves that serve a functional role in a sports competition,[ii] whereas celebration moves are mere expressions of a sportsperson’s joy in order to celebrate his or her performance on the field and have no bearing on the match.


  1. The Need for Copyright Protection of ‘Sports Celebration Moves’


Personality Rights of the Sportsperson

The right of publicity is a common law right,[iii] which was coined in the late 20th Century,[iv] but has become increasingly important in today’s world dominated by social media.[v] The right to publicity has evolved from the right to privacy of an individual,[vi] and is considered an antonym of privacy.[vii] In the celebrated judgment of Justice K S Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India[viii], while dealing with the right to privacy, the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that, “every individual should have a right to be able to exercise control over his/her own life and image as portrayed to the world and to control commercial use of his/her identity.”


In Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers[ix], the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi observed that the personality rights are those rights which a person has by virtue of his name, persona or indicia of an individual’s personality, which includes his personality trait, signature, voice, etc.[x] It protects the commercial use of an individual’s identity or persona.[xi] Every individual has a right to control how his identity is portrayed to the public;[xii] this is also known as the ‘Right to Publicity’. The High Courts in various decisions have held that personality rights can only be conferred to a celebrity.[xiii] A sportsperson being a celebrity in today’s age is admired by millions of followers of the sport. Thus, a sports person has a personality which needs to be protected.


Economic Significance

It is rightly said that a “sport is not just a game, it is big business”[xiv] Fans spend large sums of money in an attempt to witness, as well as to identify themselves with, the seemingly magical moves of their favourite sportspersons.[xv] The huge popularity of sports persons have resulted in brands (not limited to brands selling sports merchandise products) using a sports person’s ‘celebration move’ in an advertisement to gain consumer attention.[xvi] Interestingly, Virat Kohli has a brand value of $176.9 million.[xvii]


Recently, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court observed the importance of a celebrity’s right of endorsement as it is a major source of livelihood for the celebrity, which cannot be destroyed completely by permitting unlawful dissemination and sale of merchandise bearing the face or attributes of the persona of the celebrity on it without the celebrity’s lawful authorisation.[xviii]


  1. Celebration Moves as Subject Matter of Copyright


Sports Celebration Moves Sufficing the Doctrine of Originality

Section 13 of the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 (“Act”) dealing with works in which Copyright subsists, does correspond to ‘original’ works. However, the meaning of the term needs to be interpreted using external sources of interpretation due to lack of a legislative definition provided therein. Interestingly, the level of originality required for Copyright protection ideally differs from country to country.


The U.S. Supreme Court and various reputed scholars[xix] have come to hold that, for a work to qualify for Copyright protection, there are two sub-requirements: originality and creativity, wherein ‘originality’ will involve some degree of creativity, however small.[xx] This was highlighted in the case of Baltimore Orioles, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Players Association,[xxi] where the Court stated that, “only a modicum of creativity is required for a work to be copyrightable.”[xxii] On the contrary, the courts of the United Kingdom have followed the ‘Sweat of the Brow’ doctrine ardently, which means whosoever has sweated to create the move shall be accorded Copyright.[xxiii] The Indian legislature, merging the two doctrines, follows the presence of a “flavour of minimum requirement of creativity”[xxiv] for Copyright protection.


The originality requirement for Copyright protection in sports ‘celebration moves’ specifically seems achievable because the celebratory acts only need to be independently created; they do not need to be new.[xxv] There are numerous ways the sportspersons can create their moves either collaboratively or individually. Ravinder Jadeja’s original creation of the ‘Sword Dance’ where he expresses his Rajputana roots and spins and flaunts his agility on the field, shows a flavour of creativity and an element of innovation, which is needed when it comes to sports celebration moves; otherwise, these actions will fail to fulfil the basic criteria of originality. Since India’s stance on Copyright protection is seemingly tilted towards a ‘modicum of creativity’,[xxvi] it is unambiguously clear that these celebration moves do suffice the originality requirement required for protection of Copyright.


Sports Celebration Moves Sufficing the Fixation Requirement

The fixation requirement which is to be fulfilled for obtaining Copyright protection, is a dynamic concept. U.S. law[xxvii] requires that ‘original works of authorship’ be fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed to be copyrightable.[xxviii] Moreover, for subsistence of Copyright in a literary, dramatic or musical work, the U.K. Act[xxix] makes recording, in writing or otherwise, a precondition for grant of Copyright.[xxx] The situation in India is a bit tricky to comprehend owing to the lack of clarity in the statute.[xxxi] While, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has done away with the said requirement musical works, calling it an “un-Indian feature”[xxxii]     ; for choreographic work, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Academy of General Education., Manipal v. B. Malini Mallya, has held that “..if a person wants to register the Copyright in a choreographic work, he/she will be required to reduce it in writing or any other form and apply for registration in that form only”.[xxxiii]


This precondition tends to provide a slight barrier for choreographic works because of obvious reasons. Thus, the authors of choreographic works in India will have to work their way around this extra step to get the protection they require.


There are a number of ways in which an author of a choreographic work can record his work in order to satisfy this condition.[xxxiv] Under the 1909 U.S. Act,[xxxv] the Copyright Office accepted recordings of “choreographic works in the form of a verbal description, dance notation, pictorial or graphic diagrams, or a combination of these“.[xxxvi] Perhaps the most effective of these forms is dance notation, which is a scientific way of recording symbols to represent almost every movement.[xxxvii] The current U.S. Act broadens the scope of this requirement, making it significantly easier for authors of choreographic works to satisfy the condition.’[xxxviii]


Ambiguity in the Indian Law, with respect to fixation, allows inferences to be drawn from U.S. Copyright law as discussed hereinabove. In particular, the ease of access of modern technology, inclusive of sophisticated video cameras, voice recording devices, dance notations and other digital means, has made it less cumbersome for sportspersons to ‘fix’ their choreographed, sports celebration moves. Fixation through these means enables sportspersons to overcome the hurdle posed by the legislative principles to acquire Copyright protection.


Sports Celebration Moves Satisfy the Functionality Test

To be able to secure Copyright protection, sports celebration moves need to conform to the functionality requirement. According to the functionality doctrine, since “copyright law protects expression, not function, aesthetic features of useful articles are eligible for copyright protection only if they are separable from the functional work in which they are incorporated.”[xxxix]. Ordinary sports moves, like the “method or process for throwing a pitch in baseball… or…performing more accurate putts,” may be categorized as purely functional and may, therefore, be denied Copyright protection.[xl] However, sports celebration moves have proven to be more expressive, original, and only tangentially connected to the goals of a particular game. Therefore, expressive sport celebration moves will surely survive the hurdle of functionality test because of their partial and tangential relation with the functional purpose of the athletic event.


Personality Rights: Sports Celebration Moves, an intellectual property of a sports person

The use of a sportspersons’ image or persona by copying his celebration moves will also constitute infringement of his right to publicity. A sportsperson, by being associated with a sport, acquires identification and value of his persona.[xli] In 1983, the United States Court of Appeals in Martin Luther King Jr Center for Social Change v. American Heritage Products Inc[xlii] recognised “ball-players” along with actors as celebrities having a right to publicity. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the matter of ICC Development (International) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises[xliii] went on to observe that no entity can use Kapil Dev’s persona or indicia without his authorisation, and any action done otherwise will amount to a “valid and enforceable cause of action”[xliv].


It has been held that ‘personality’ includes ‘gesture’, ‘mannerism’ and ‘impression’.[xlv] Celebration moves are certain gestures or mannerisms that are personal to a sportsperson. A sportsperson can be identified by the general public by such creative and unique gestures which amount to celebration moves. One such famous gesture of the West Indies bowler Kesrick William is the ‘notebook’ celebration move in which after dismissing a batsman, he celebrates his victory by drawing an imaginary long tick on his palm, as if adding the name of the batsman to the list of those whom he’s dismissed.


A sportsperson needs to satisfy two basic elements to prove infringement of his right to publicity. First, validity,[xlvi] which means the sportsperson’s right in his identity. Second, identifiability,[xlvii] which means the act of infringement should be one from which the sportsperson can be identified. It is also important to note here that such infringement requires no proof of falsity, confusion, or deception.[xlviii] To understand the test better, the facts of the case Titan Industries Case[xlix] are discussed hereunder. The Plaintiff had filed for an injunction against infringement of Copyright, misappropriation of personality rights by the Defendants therein. The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi dealt with the protection of personality rights of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Mrs. Jaya Bachchan (Indian Film Celebrities) in the advertisements released by the Plaintiff which were allegedly copied and infringed by the Defendants. The Hon’ble Court first enunciated the aforementioned two basic elements to prove infringement of one’s right to publicity. Thereafter, a permanent injunction was granted restraining the defendant from misappropriating the personality rights of the aforementioned celebrities. It was observed that: “…since Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Mrs. Jaya Bachchan are clearly identifiable there would be an infringement of the right of publicity for it is not tied down to any proof of falsity.”


Thus, if a sportsperson is able to prove that an individual has used his celebration moves, which are a reflection of his persona or indicia, and that he can be identified by such unauthorised use, the unauthorised user should be held liable for infringement of the sportsperson’s personality right.


Sports Celebration Moves as Choreography under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957

Sports celebration moves are often referred to as choreography.[l] These celebration moves, for the purpose of copyrightability, can be explained as a combination of dance steps created by the sportsperson, and communicated to the public,[li] at moments of victory in a sports event. This can be witnessed from Dwayne Bravo’s signatory and trademarked “Champion Dance”. Given this nature of celebration moves, they fall under the head of choreographic work’[lii] as explained under the definition of ‘Dramatic Work’ in the Act.[liii]


One of the major arguments against celebration moves being termed as choreographic works is that they are only the foundation or the basic premises of any choreography that are used in a celebration move. This argument does not hold ground when the principle laid down in Eastern Book Co. v. D.B. Modak[liv] is applied. A sportsperson, while performing his celebration move, can surpass this impediment if by “virtue of selection, coordination and arrangement of pre-existing data [if any]”[lv], the sportsperson creates a new celebration move distinct from any pre-existing dramatic/choreographic work. In Academy of General Education Case[lvi], copyright was granted to a composition of seven verses or prasangas for staging Yaksharanga Ballet apart from bringing in changes in the traditional form thereof on its relevant aspects. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India agreed with the view of the lower court that a new look has been created by the Plaintiff highlighting the application of imaginative faculties in the Yakshagana Ballet.


Additionally, the opponents of granting copyrightability of celebration moves often raise the issue that these moves are not long enough in time period, or do not consist of enough number of dance steps to qualify as choreography under the Act. This view can be countered by applying the ‘bright-line test’[lvii], according to which even if only a tiny piece of the composition is copied, it would be held as a violation of Section 106(1)[lviii] of the US Copyright Law. The defence of de minimis i.e., the copied part is too trivial to constitute infringement, was not accepted by the court.


Hence, the length of the sports celebration move or the number of steps involved in the move are not of relevance to determine its copyrightability.


  • Impediments to the Copyrightability of Sports Celebration Moves


Idea/Expression Dichotomy

It is common knowledge that an idea can never be copyrightable, but its expression may be.[lix] Analysing specifically choreographic works, simple dance steps or routines are considered building blocks or basic ideas of any copyrightable expression. Thus, to grant a monopoly to the basic idea of copyrightable expression would curtail future creativity and, hence, be counterproductive.[lx]


Interpreting the same here, as above, the legislative view may limit simple celebration moves performed by sportspersons, such as the “Monster Bash,” or the “Mile-High Salute”. However, a more complex sports celebration move, which incorporates certain extraordinary steps, not performed in the usual course of events, such as the “Ickey Shuffle” or the “Super Bowl Shuffle” or even the “Trophy Bite”, should be treated as a copyrightable expression of those ideas. Therefore, simple celebration moves shall most certainly not survive the rigours of the idea/expression dichotomy.


Personality Rights and the Opponent view of Copyrightability of Sports Celebration moves

Opponents to the copyrightability of the celebration moves argue that celebration moves of a sportsperson do not form a part of the sportsperson’s persona and are therefore not protected under the right to publicity. However, a mere hand or body ‘gesture’ or ‘mannerism’ does not form a part of personality rights. Celebration moves are nothing but a gesture or mannerism[lxi] of a sportsperson, which is showcased by him at moments of victory.[lxii] Even though U.S. law on the subject differs from state to state, it is to be noted that the more common definition of ‘personality’ does not include gesture or mannerisms.[lxiii] Similarly, in India, the judiciary in a plethora of cases concerning the right to publicity has not included gestures or mannerisms in the definition of ‘personality’. Reference can be made to a recent judgment, Shivaji Rao Gaikwad v. Varsha Productions[lxiv] where the Hon’ble Madras High Court, while stating that personality rights are not defined under any legislation in India, observed that personality rights mean those rights which “can inhere only in an individual or in any indicia of an individual’s personality like his name, personality trait, signature, voice, etc.”.


Dissenting view on Sports Celebration Moves falling under Choreographic Work under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957

One might counter that celebration moves fail to satisfy the criteria laid down under the Act to be qualified as choreography and consequently a ‘Dramatic Work’[lxv]. It is only choreographies with a distinct character that can be copyrighted.[lxvi] Celebration moves, on the other hand, are a combination of dance steps or hand and body gestures which are so basic that they can be considered as fundamental blocks of any dance/choreography. For example, the thotu manga step or the kartari (Kuchipudi Dance Steps) is not copyrightable in India.[lxvii] The U.S. Copyright office has clarified that ‘commonplace movements or gestures’ do not qualify to obtain copyright protection as they are unable to satisfy the test of “sufficient amount of authorship”.[lxviii]


Celebration moves are simple, commonplace, social, and short routines. These cannot be copyrighted under the head of choreography. The U.S. Copyright Office recently rejected the application to register the ‘Carlton dance’ routine submitted by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s star Alfonso Ribeiro on the grounds that the routine was a combination of merely three steps.[lxix] The U.S. Copyright office, which is a signatory to the TRIPS agreement like India, has in its 2017 circular explicitly stated and clarified that ‘a celebratory end zone dance move or athletic victory gesture’ is not copyrightable even if it is distinct in nature.[lxx] It reasoned that celebration moves are commonplace or gesture individual movements, consisting of only a few movements with minor linear or spatial variations. [lxxi]


Thus, due to the lacuna in the Indian law with respect to the definition of ‘choreography’ for the purpose of Copyright, inspiration can be drawn from U.S. law to reach a conclusion that celebration moves cannot be copyrighted in India.


  1. Conclusion & Recommendations


A bare reading of the aforesaid interpretation of the current legal regime on sports celebration moves leads to the fact that since these moves are expressive, creative, put together by sportspersons’ skills and obey the principles of originality and fixation, they can be a subject matter of Copyright under the Indian law.


For a sportsperson to protect his celebration moves, his / her celebration moves will have to satisfy that:

  • they are the product of expression, thought, skill, labour, and investment of capital of the sportsperson.
  • They satisfy the functionality test and prove to be only tangentially related to the functional purpose of the sports move.[lxxii]
  • They satisfy the criteria of personality rights, i.e., validity,[lxxiii] which means the sportsperson’s right in his identity. Second, identifiability,[lxxiv] which means the act of infringement should be one from which the sportsperson can be identified.



After analysing the current legal regime on the copyrightability of sports celebration moves, the authors of the article recommend the following amendments to the Indian Copyright Act, 1957 to deal with the issues that might arise in the future when someone enforces their Copyright in celebration moves:


  1. Amendment to Section 2 of the Act: There is still ambiguity on the precise definition of choreography, and as to whether it would mean a combination of dance steps forming a full-length dance routine or a limited number of dance steps sufficing the essentials of choreography under the Act. “There may not be a magic number that applies universally… [but] mere end-zone butt-shaking”[lxxv] would not suffice the test of copyrightability. This very aspect requires clarificatory amendment in the form of inclusion of the definition of choreography under Section 2 of the Act, keeping in mind, the current regime that “a sufficiently long and involved celebration can clear the copyrightability threshold”[lxxvi].


  1. Amendment to Section 2(h) of the Act: There is still confusion with regards to the fixation requirement of a choreographic work under the Act. The Section states that a choreographic work can be copyrighted which “which is fixed in writing or otherwise but does not include a cinematograph film”. To overcome the fixation hurdle, the authors suggest an amendment to the said section by including ‘audio-visual, verbal description, dance notation, pictorial or graphic diagrams, or a combination of these’ as valid mediums for the fixation requirement.

[i] National Basketball Association v. Motorola Inc., 105 F.3d 841, 846 (2d Cir. 1997).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Ali v. Playgirl, 447 F Supp 723 (S.D.N.Y. 1978).

[iv] Lynne M. J. Boisineau, Intellectual Property Law: The Right of Publicity and the Social Media Revolution, A.B.A (2013).

[v] Justice Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1.

[vi] ICC Development (Int.) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises, 2003 (26) PTC 245 (Del).

[vii] Justice Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1.

[viii] Id.

[ix] Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, 2012 (50) PTC 486 (Del).

[x] ICC Development (Int.) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises, 2003 (26) PTC 245 (Del).

[xi] Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, 2012 (50) PTC 486 (Del); Midler v. Ford Motor Co., 849 F.2d 460 (9th Cir. 1988).

[xii] Justice Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1.

[xiii] Gaikwad v. Varsha Productions, 2015 (62) PTC 351 (Mad); Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, 2012 (50) PTC 486 (Del); Amitabh Bachchan v. Rajat Nagi, (2022) 6 HCC (Del) 641 .

[xiv] William S. Kern, The Economics of Sports, (W E Upjohn Inst.) 1 (2000).

[xv] Gerdy, supra note 5 at 33.

[xvi] See Weber, Something in the Way She Moves: The Case for Applying Copyright Protection to Sports Moves, 23 Colum.-Vla J.L. & Arts, 326 (2000).


[xviii] Anil Kapoor v. Simply Life India & Ors., CS(COMM) 652/2023

[xix] D. Nimmer & M. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright §§ 106(A), (Bender & Co, Inc.) 1.08(C)(1).

[xx]See Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345 (1991).

[xxi] 805 F.2d 663, 669, (7th Cir. 1986).

[xxii] Balt. Orioles, Inc. v. Major League Baseball Players Association, 805 F.2d 663, 669, n.7 (7th Cir. 1986).

[xxiii]University of London Press Ltd v. Tutorial Press Ltd., AC 539 (1900).

[xxiv]Eastern Book Co. v. D.B. Modak, (2008) 1 SCC 1.

[xxv] Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 345 (1991).

[xxvi]Eastern Book Co. v. D.B. Modak, (2008) 1 SCC 1.

[xxvii] 17 U.S.C. (1909).

[xxviii] 17 U.S.C. § 102 (1909).

[xxix] Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988).

[xxx] Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, § 3(1) (1988).

[xxxi] See Shubham Kshirsagar, May I have this dance? copyrighting Choreography under the Indian Copyright Act, Mondaq, Oct 29, 2019 available at

[xxxii] Indian Performing Right Society v. Eastern India Motion Picture Associates, (1977) 2 SCC 820.

[xxxiii]Academy of General Education., Manipal v. B. Malini Mallya, (2009) 4 SCC 256.

[xxxiv] D. Nimmer & M. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 1.02, (Bender & Co, Inc.) (2002).

[xxxv] 17 U.S.C. (1909).

[xxxvi] Nimmer, supra note 53.

[xxxvii] Adaline J. Hilgard, Can Choreography and Copyright Waltz Together in the Wake of Horgan v. Macmillan Inc.?, 27 U.C. DAVIS L. Rev. 757, 765 (1994).

[xxxviii] 17 U.S.C. § 102 (1909).

[xxxix] Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands 137 S. Ct. 1002.

[xl] Fabrica Inc. v. El Dorado Corp., 697 F.2d at 893.

[xli] See ICC Development (Int,) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises., 2003 (26) PTC 245 (Del); Haelan Laboratories v. Topps Chewing Gum, 202 F.2d 866.

[xlii] Martin Luther King Jr Center for Social Change v. American Heritage Products Inc, 694 F.2d 674, (11th Cir. 1983).

[xliii] 2003 (26) PTC 245 (Del).

[xliv] ICC Development (Int.) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises, 2003(26)PTC245(Del) para. 14.

[xlv] Joshua L. Simmons & Miranda D, Means, Split Personality: Constructing a Coherent Right to Publicity Statute, Landslide, May/Jun, 2018, Vol. 10 No. 5 available at

[xlvi] Chorian Rights Ltd. v. Ishan Apparel, 2010 SCC OnLine Del 1518.

[xlvii] Id.

[xlviii] Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, 2012 (50) PTC 486 (Del).

[xlix] Id.

[l] See Sean Keeler, Ickey Wishes O’Donnell Would Shuffle Away, The Cincinnati Post, (2 Sept, 1998) available at

[li] See The Indian Copyright Act, s. 2(ff), 3 (1957).

[lii] Horgan v. Macmillan, Inc., 789 F.2d 157, 161 (2d Cir. 1986).

[liii] The Indian Copyright Act, s. 2(h) (1957); Academy of General Edu., Manipal. v. B. Malini Mallya, (2009) 4 SCC 256, para. 29.

[liv] (2008) 1 SCC 1.

[lv] See Eastern Book Co. v. D.B. Modak, (2008) 1 SCC 1.

[lvi] (2009) 4 SCC 256.

[lvii] U.S. Court of Appeals in Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films, 410 F.3d 792 (6th Cir. 2005); See Kraftwerk. v. Moses Pelham., No. 046/2020, I ZR 115/16.

[lviii]17 USC §106(1).

[lix]Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879); Anand v. Delux Films, (1978) 4 SCC 256.

[lx] Julie E. Cohen et al., Copyright in a Global Information Economy (2002) 27-28; Allrefer Blog, Copyright History, (IUP INFO) available at history.html>.

[lxi] Mannerism, “A particular habit or way of speaking or behaving that somebody has but is not aware of’, Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, available at, accessed at 12 May, 2020.

[lxii] Justice Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India, (2017) 10 SCC 1.

[lxiii] Simmons supra note 64.

[lxiv] 2015 (62) PTC 351 (Mad).

[lxv] The Indian Copyright Act, s. 2(h) (1957).

[lxvi] Academy of General Edu., Manipal v. B. Malini Mallya, (2009) 4 SCC 256.

[lxvii] Pujita Krishna, Can Dance be Protected from Plagiarism?, The Hindu, (22 Feb., 2018), available at

[lxviii] Circular 52 of the Copyright Registration of Choreography and Pantomime, U.S. Copyright Office, Sept. 2017, available at

[lxix] Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP, The Carlton’ Dances Its Way Out of Copyright Protection, Lexology, 7 March, 2019, available at

[lxx] Circular 52 of the Copyright Registration of Choreography and Pantomime, U.S. Copyright Office, Sept. 2017, available at

[lxxi] Ibid.

[lxxii] Refer Section II, ‘Functionality Test’.

[lxxiii] Chorian Rights Ltd.  v. Ishan Apparel, 2010 SCC OnLine Del 1518.

[lxxiv] Id.

[lxxv] Eric Goldman, Copyrighting Sports Celebration Moves, Tech. & Marketing Law Blog, 18 Jan, 2006 available at

[lxxvi] Id.




  • Ramya Aggarwal, Advocate
  • Sanya Kapoor, Advocate