Hula Dancer Wins Copyright Suit in Osaka District Court

Kapu Kinimaka-Alquiza, a Hawaiian kumu hula who taught hula dancing for 26 years for the Kyushu Hawaiian Association, brought a copyright lawsuit against the organization. Ms. Kinimaka-Alquiza stopped teaching at the organization in 2014 and asked them to stop using the thousands of dances she had choreographed after she left. The organization, however, continued to use the dances, and argued that the choreographies lacked originiality.
However, the Osaka District Court found that the hand movements showed express lyrics, that for some words the plaintiff was choosing particular motions from multiple patterns, and that each of the motions were then connected so as to smoothly flow which showed that the choreography has originality. The court then granted an injunction against the Kyushu Hawaiian Association and ordered the organization to pay damages.