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Performer’s Rights under Copyright Law

Copyright Law

The visual, acoustic, and other performances are an important part of the daily routine. Actors, singers, musicians, and dancers all play a significant role in the creative process. The performers are the ones who act as catalysts for delivering the work’s original material. Because they are such an important part of the media industry, these artists have been granted special rights to preserve their original and creative work. With the rapid advancement of technology and heightened awareness of intellectual property rights, countries have realized the significance of a well-developed performer protection framework to safeguard the performers’ creative output.

Under the copyright regime in India, all original and creative works are protected. These are the unique rights granted to authors, composers, performers, and artists in situations where their work has the fundamental quality of ‘originality’ and ‘authenticity.’ Initially, there were no provisions in the Indian Copyright Act that addressed the rights of performers such as musicians, actresses, and singers. The Indian laws have just recently acknowledged the laws and rights relating to performers because of technology improvements and developments.

Section 2(qq) of the Copyright Act, 1957 has provided meaning to the term performer stating that the term would include acrobat, singer, musician., actor, juggler, snake charmer, or any person who is making a performance. Subsequently, performance can be referred to as the representation of any visual or acoustic presentation which has been performed by one or more performers. For instance, a musician performing at a concert in Mumbai will also be liable for getting protection under the performer’s rights under Section 2(qq) and Section 38 of the Copyright Act, 1957.

Section 38 of the Copyright Act, 1957 has briefly stated that if any person makes use of the original content of the performer during his performer’s right without his consent and prior authorization is deemed to have been committed an infringement of his performer’s rights. The performers have been granted protection of 50 years on their original and creative works. The various rights of the performers include:

  1. He has the right for making any sound or visual recording.
  2. He has the right for producing and duplicating his work and can also produce copies for the same.
  3. He has the right for preventing others from broadcasting his performance. If any third party uses his rights of broadcasting without his consent, thereby leading to commercial exploitation, then is liable for claiming royalties.
  4. He has the right of communicating the work in the public domain.

The rights of the performers are infringed if:

  1. The person duplicates the work of the performer without his consent and permission.
  2. The person has used the work of the performer without his consent.
  3. The person has used the work of the performer for any other illegal purposes.
  4. If the work has been broadcasted and communicated in the public domain without the consent and permission of the performer.

If the rights of the performers are infringed, then the performer has been given the right for claiming relief under Section 55 and Section 63 to 70 of the Copyright Act, 1947 namely in the form of civil remedies i.e., temporary, and permanent injunction, damages, criminal remedies, and anti-pillar order. 

Thus, the evolvement of the rights of the performers has been seen as an encouraging step in the laws of copyright. There have been instances where the works of the performers get exploited and the rights of the performers act as a safeguard in protecting the original and creative works.

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