Performers’ rights and rights in performances

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

  • Performers’ rights and rights in performances
  • Protection for performers
  • Defining ‘a performance’
  • Performers’ rights
  • Property rights
  • Beneficiaries of exclusive recording contracts
  • Equitable remuneration
  • Commercial sound recordings
  • Transfer of the rental right
  • EU reform and equitable remuneration
  • More...

Performers’ rights and rights in performances

Protection for performers

This Practice Note summarises the rights known as performers’ rights which subsist in the UK under Part II 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, Pt II are separate from and independent of any copyright or moral rights that may exist in underlying works (governed by CDPA 1988, Pt I). The Part II rights relate to the protection of the performance itself rather than the underlying work. CDPA 1988, s 16(1)(c) gives copyright owners the exclusive right to perform certain types of work in public, or to authorise others to perform them: this right is often called ‘performance right’ but must not be confused with the Part II rights in performances.

Performers’ 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. Performers’ 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 in performances include two main sets of rights:

  1. performers’ rights which include non-property and

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