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23 Colum.-VLA J.L. & Arts 317 (1999-2000)
Something in the Way She Moves: The Case for Applying Copyright Protection to Sports Moves

handle is hein.journals/cjla23 and id is 325 raw text is: Something in the Way She Moves:
The Case for Applying Copyright Protection to Sports Moves
by Loren J. Weber*
It's fit and proper for you to know your sports.
What greater glory attends a man, while he's alive,
than what he wins with his racing feet and striving hands?
- Homer, The Odyssey'
Prince Laodamas's bold declaration of the surpassing importance of athletic
achievement - reported by Homer nearly three thousand years ago in the Odyssey, the
epic poet's recounting of legendary events centuries older yet - serves to remind us
that our own society's preoccupation with athletic achievement has ancient roots.
Indeed, at least to judge from Homer's account, it would appear the fundamental role
of sports in Western society has changed little over the intervening millennia.
It is noteworthy, for instance, that Laodamas, prince of the Phaeacian people,
praised athleticism by way of challenging the wandering hero Odysseus, the guest of
honor at a day of Phaeacian games and contests, to join in and test his strength and
skills against the local athletes;2 then as now, evidently, athletics allowed nations as
well as individuals to pit their physical attributes and abilities against those of others
and (ideally) affirm their own physical superiority without subjecting themselves to
the unpleasantries of actual mortal combat (calling to mind George Orwell's
description of sport as war minus the shooting3). Moreover, Laodamas's challenge
occurred at a heavily-attended competition at the Phaeacian kingdom's meeting
grounds,4 underlining the important function of athletics in Homeric society as a form
of public entertainment5 - a role sports has in fact played repeatedly throughout
*     B.A., Ph.D. (Medieval History), University of California, Los Angeles; J.D., Columbia
University School of Law. Associate with the firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Newport Beach,
California. I thank Ed Blatnik, Joshua Masur and James Weinberger for their helpful comments and
Copyright © 2000 by Loren J. Weber.
1.    HOMER, THE ODYSSEY 8.169-71, at 196 (Robert Fagles trans., Penguin Books 1996).
2.    Laodamas's dare itself appears in the lines immediately preceding those reproduced at the head
of the Note, id. 8.167-68, at 196: Come, stranger, sir, won't you try your hand / at our contests now? If
you have skill in any.
LETTERS OF GEORGE ORWELL 40,42 (Sonia Orwell & Ian Angus eds., 1968).
4.    When Odysseus's company reaches the meeting grounds for the contests, it is with throngs
of people streaming in their trail. HOMER, supra note 1, 8.127-28, at 195.
5.    Or more precisely, as semi-public entertainment. For the most part, only aristocrats participated
in, and attended, ancient Greek athletic events of this type. At the Olympic Games, for example, only
aristocrats could afford the horses and chariots needed to participate in the equestrian events, although

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