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    The law defines the rights of " performers ". Thus, singers, musicians, actors, etc. have  related rights on their performance of a work.

    For example, only Emilie Dequenne has the right to authorise that her performance in the film by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne " Rosetta " is made available on YouTube. She can also prohibit a mobile phone ringtone being created with one of her ripostes from the film.

    These rights give them control over the use of their performance. Performers generally transfer their related rights to the producer (with the exception of their moral right). Therefore, it is the latter that provides the authorisations required to be able to use performances by performers.

    The related rights of performers are distinct from copyright on the work they perform. For example, a singer has rights on his or her performance of a song, whereas the composer and lyricist of the song performed hold the copyright on this song. Therefore, there are different rights for a same song. When the performance was recorded by a producer, there is also a third type of right on records, the related right of the producer.

    Which performers have related rights ?

    The performer is any person who performs a work of any kind (literary, dramatic, audiovisual, musical, choreographic, etc.).

    These are, for example, actors, singers, musicians, dancers, variety artists (magicians, jugglers, comedians, etc.), or circus artists.

    However, so-called " complementary " artists, such as extras or technical support crew do not have rights on their services.

    Performers have rights on which performances ?

    Only artistic type services are protected.

    Sports performances, a model's performance, the performance of a person who was the subject of a reality TV show are not protected.

    What are the privileges for performers ?

    Economic rights

    The related right of performers allows them to control the use of their performances. 

    Economic rights reserve them the exclusive right to exploit their performance. Often, they exercise this right by transferring it to the producer.

    The main economic rights are the right to reproduce the performance and the right to communicate it to the public.

    Right of reproduction

    The authorisation of the owner of the related rights on a performance is necessary in order to make a reproduction of it. This right allows them to control the exploitation that will be made of the performance through the production of copies containing this performance. The performer's authorisation is required to produce any representation of his or her performance, or record a music concert or a theatrical performance, for example.

    More generally, any reproduction of a performance, whatever the technique used, on CD, DVD, digital file, or other, requires the authorisation of the owners of the related rights on this performance.

    All types of copies are covered by the right of reproduction: permanent or temporary copies, whole or partial copies or extracts (for example, the cover of an extract of a performance constitutes a copy, even if it is partial), copies made for resale or for donation, copies made for a third party or for oneself (except the private copying).

    Right of communication to the public

    The performer's authorisation is required to communicate its performance to the public, show it to them or have it heard by them, directly or via technical device (for posting a performance on the Internet for example), or a programme.

    However, there are two important cases where such authorisation is not required :

    • the communication of the performance in a public place when it is not used in a performance and if access to the place is free and
    • the broadcasting of its service.

    However, in both these cases, remuneration is received for performers.

    Lending and rental right

    The performer's authorisation is required for the lending or rental of material reproductions containing his or her performance of a work.

    Right of distribution

    The performer's authorisation is required for the sale or import of material reproductions containing his or her performance of a work.

    Performers' moral rights

    Moral rights aim to protect the personality of the performer in his or her interpretation or performance.

    The performer may demand that his or her name appears when his or her performance is used (right of name) provided that this is done in accordance with honest practices in the profession. It is also prohibited to incorrectly credit a performance to a performer.

    The performer may oppose any modification or distortion of his or her performance (right to respect for the performance).

    Performers' rights to remuneration

    Alongside the right to authorise specific actions with respect to their performances, related rights guarantee rights to remuneration for performers. In these cases, performers cannot prohibit specific uses of their performances, but, in return, have a right to remuneration (as defined by law).

    Contracts concerning performers' related rights

    Performers' related rights (economic rights) can be transferred to third parties. This is implemented by the conclusion of an agreement between the performer and the person or the company to which he or she transfers the rights. Performers generally transfer their economic rights to the producer of the film or the song they perform.

    These agreements must comply with various conditions that have been decreed by the legislator to protect the performer in his or her relation with an operator. They are identical to those that apply to agreements between authors and operators.

    Last update
    23 March 2022