Legal Protections for Musicians – Performing Rights
This is the third and final part of a series looking at the protections UK law provides to musicians. Part 1 dealt with copyright and Part 2 dealt with moral rights. This article looks at performing rights.
What are ‘performing rights’?
Performing rights provide artists with rights not dissimilar to copyright. Whilst copyright protects music, lyrics and sound recordings, performing rights provide artists with protection for their performances or recordings of their performances. For example, an artist who performs on stage or during a concert would usually benefit from performing rights.
Performing rights provide the performer with the following protections:
- the right to control the broadcasting of his or her live performance to the public;
- the right to prevent the recording of any live performance; and
- the right to prevent copies of a recording of a performance being made.
These rights are collectively known as a performer’s ‘non-property rights’.
A performer can also prevent the copying of any recording of their performance, and may be entitled to payment for any recorded performance that is subsequently broadcast, publicly performed or rented. These rights are known as the performer’s ‘property rights’.
Can you provide some examples?
An artist’s performing rights may be infringed if any of the following occur:
- A covers band performs your music in a public venue without obtaining the requisite consents;
- Your music is played in a business (such as your local hairdresser);
- Your music is made available on a publicly accessible webiste for download.
How do I exercise my performing rights?
The simplest way to exercise your performing rights is to join a collection society such as PRS for Music. Membership of PRS for Music costs just £10. By joining PRS for Music you transfer parts of your copyright to PRS for Music. These include your rights to:
- perform your music in public (at clubs, pubs, shops and concerts, etc.); and
- communicate your music to the public (via radio, satellite, cable, the Internet, etc.).
How much could I be paid?
This varies enormously, but for playing at a local pub, the royalty generated will be approximately £6. For rock and pop concerts at mainstream venues, the royalty generated is 3% of box office receipts. So, if you sell 10,000 tickets at £12 the royalty will be 3% of £120,000 = £3,600.
PRS will deduct an administration fee from all royalty payments, full details of which are available here.
Performing rights are extremely valuable. Collecting societies such as PRS for Music provide a cost effective way in which musicians can work together to receive payment for the performance of their works.
Please feel welcome to leave comments and feedback on the above post. I am also happy to answer general copyright questions submitted as comments through this entry. If you would like to discuss any specific requirements then please feel welcome to call me, Mark Roberts, on 0161 826 9309.