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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22977
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I was involved as an associated choreographer in a original

Customer Question

Hello, I was involved as an associated choreographer in a original work. It states in my contract that the intellectual property stays with the choreographer, but does that include me? The company are now also advertising the work with out my name being associated and going on an international tour without employing me, though verbally told me I was to be included but that my role will change. Are there legal grounds for me to dispute?
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The is a dance choreography where I could safely say I choreographed at least 50 %.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
If you are employed by somebody then generally the copyright belongs to your employer. This is because of the effect of section 21 of the Copyright Act which says:-21First ownership of copyright(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, the person who is the author of a work is the first owner of any copyright in the work.(2)Where an employee makes, in the course of his or her employment, a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, that person's employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work.(3)Where—(a)a person commissions, and pays or agrees to pay for, the taking of a photograph or the making of a computer program, painting, drawing, diagram, map, chart, plan, engraving, model, sculpture, film, or sound recording; and(b)the work is made in pursuance of that commission,—that person is the first owner of any copyright in the work.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
The real difficulty lies with acknowledging your part. Morally they should do so, but in legal terms they own the copyright.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok thanks, ***** ***** moral rights regarding my name being included in the advertising of the work?
And do I have any grounds for verbal agreements made regarding employment?
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
You certainly should insist on being acknowledged as one of the authors. The employment issue may also be enforceable, if you were originally employed and then told this would continue. If they have done nothing about the verbal offer, then you could possibly claim a personal grievance. This may depend on the nature of your employment, whether you were a contractor or a paid employee however. If a verbal offer was made as an employee, then you are likely to have grounds for a personal grievance that they withdrew the offer or did nothing about the offer, which left you without work and income
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** a contractor but be with this same company for 5 years, but not working as an employee.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
When I insist the acknowledge me as one of the authors, they are not legally bound to do this only morally?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
oh yes I saw you answered that...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How should I formulate my request to them, asking for them to acknowledge my contribution. I will look up personal grievance...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok thanks for your help, I have to go but if you have any ideas over steps to take in my approach with them that would be great. Have a good day.
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
If you were a contractor but not an employee, then you cannot claim a personal grievance and would have to claim in the Disputes Tribunal for a breach of the promise to take you with them overseas for a further contract. That would not be as simple as a personal grievance, which is done through the Employment Relations Service. I suggest for the acknowledgement, that you say to them that you wish to assert your moral rights as the author or one of the authors, to be acknowledged and any publication relating to the choreography. You could add that they had made a verbal offer to provide further contracting for the overseas trip, but they appear to have overlooked this, and you would like them to honour their verbal offer