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Performers' rights

Performers are entitled to various rights in their performances, whether these take place on the stage, during a concert and so on.  Performers also have rights in any recordings, films or broadcasts of their performances.

In many cases, but not always, the performance may be of a copyright work - literary, dramatic or musical - so the performers' rights will be in addition to the rights of copyright owners with respect to the performance and subsequent exploitation of any recording or broadcast of the performance.

A performer has the right to control the broadcasting of his or her live performance to the public. The permission of a performer must also be sought before a recording of the live performance is made.  These are referred to as a performer's non-property rights.

Once a recording of the performance has been made, the performer's permission is also needed to make copies of that recording. A performer may be entitled to remuneration in respect of broadcasting, other types of communication to the public by electronic transmission, public performance and rental of those copies.  These are a performer's property rights.

It will usually be necessary, therefore, to obtain permission from the performers in advance for activities that would infringe any of these rights.

A performer also has moral rights.

Fast Facts

  • The various performers' rights can be found in Part II sections 180-197 of the Act
  • Performers' property rights are detailed in sections 191A-M of the Act
  • Performers' non-property rights can be found in the Act at sections 192A-197

Jargon buster

  • 'Performers' property rights' are concerned with their rights in the actual recordings or broadcasts of their live performances
  • 'Performers non-property rights' are concerned with the rights in the live performances themselves

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