Performance rights
Performance rights

The following IP guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Performance rights
  • Protection for performers
  • Defining ‘a performance’
  • Property rights
  • Non-property rights
  • Beneficiaries of exclusive recording contracts
  • Equitable remuneration
  • Moral rights
  • Qualifying performance
  • Ownership
  • more

Protection for performers

This Practice Note summarises the rights known as performance rights which are vested in the UK by virtue of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988). CDPA 1988, Pt II gives performers and those having exclusive recording contracts with performers various civil rights and also imposes criminal liability for making, dealing with or using illicit recordings. The rights granted by CDPA 1988 are separate to any copyright or moral rights that may exist in underlying works because they relate to the protection of the performance itself rather than the underlying work.

Performance rights protect a performer's live or recorded dramatic and musical performances from having unauthorised recordings or broadcasts made of them, and from other unauthorised dealings in them. Performance rights are particularly useful to protect the rights of performers in relation to ‘bootlegs’ (ie unlawful recordings of a live performance made without the performer’s consent).

Rights applicable to performers include non-property and property rights and rights for the beneficiaries of exclusive recording contracts, also referred to as recording rights. Moral rights and the right to equitable remuneration for the playing of records also apply to performers. Right in performances exist in addition to any copyright that may exist in the underlying works. Like copyright, they exist without any requirement for registration in the UK. The