What are performance rights and when do they apply? (10 February 2012)

Performance rights exist independently of copyright and moral rights in a work.  The performer is the first owner of the performance and will have rights in their performance and any recording, film or broadcast of that performance.  A performer’s rights and rights in a performance are enshrined in Part II of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA).
Although there may be some debate as to whether all lectures are performance, colleges and universities are best advised to treat all as such. Therefore a lecturer (employee) or visiting speaker delivering a lecture will have performer’s rights in their performance (separate to any rights in the content).  Consent will be required to make and disseminate a recording of the performance in order to avoid infringement of the performer’s rights.  A college or university may request that performer’s rights are either assigned (transferred) to the institution or that the necessary rights are licensed.  In drafting a licence it is important that any permission extends to the intended future use of the recording.  A consent form can be used for this purpose.  Where the intent is to distribute the recording for promotional purposes and to stream the recording on the college website, for example, then it is important that permissions obtained include this use.

Students also have performance rights.  By way of an example, s.180(2) CDPA, which defines a performance as including dance or mime, students performing a dance as part of an end of year show will have performer’s rights in their performance.  Consent will be required from the students to make and disseminate a recording of the performance in order to avoid any infringement of the students’ performance rights.

Performers also have moral rights (provided for by s.205C – 205N CDPA) which include the right to be identified as the performer and the right to object to derogatory treatment of their performance.  Where asserted, such rights apply to employees as well as students.

JISC Legal have published a guidance document on Recording Lectures: Legal Considerations (available at http://jiscleg.al/RecordingLecturesGuidance) which you may find useful and which includes a model consent form which can be used for recording lectures and could be adapted to cover the recording and dissemination of an end-of-year dance performance.


Posted on 10/02/2012

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