Legal information for performers

"Get permission from performers with a consent form."

What are your rights as a performer?

The legal issues most performers come across are copyright, moral rights, and performers’ reproduction and communication rights.

This chapter looks at the important things you need to know if you are a performer involved in:

  • music
  • theatre
  • acting
  • dance
  • performance art
  • circus performance
  • variety acts

Performers reproduction and communication rights

If you are a performer, you must give your permission before anyone records (by audio or video) your performance and communicates it to the public.

Copyright for performers

Copyright is about important rights that only you have in your work.

As a performer, you own copyright in a sound recording of your live performance together with the person who makes the recording.

As the owner of copyright in a sound recording, you have the right to:

  • make a copy of it
  • have the recording heard in public
  • communicate the recording to the public.

Other people need your permission or licence to do those things.

Copyright is important because it:

  • protects your work against use by others without your permission
  • allows you to get money for your work.

It is important not to give away copyright when you say “Yes” to someone recording your performance.

If you want to use copyright protected material that belongs to other people in your performance, you must get the permission from the copyright owner to use that material.

Moral rights for performers

Moral rights are personal rights that connect the creator of a work to their work.

As a performer you have the moral right to:

  • be identified as a performer of the performance
  • stop anyone else from being identified as the performer of your performance
  • protect yourself if your performance is treated in any way that hurts your reputation.

The audience should know that you are a performer in a performance. For example, your name should be shown in a theatre program or as a credit in a documentary or film.

Contracts

If you are in a performance, it is important to have a contract that says:

  • any payment you will receive
  • how you will be credited
  • if you consent to the performance being recorded.
  • Reproduction and communication rights mean that you should give your permission before anyone records and shows your work in public.
  • You must give your permission before someone can film or audio-record your performance.
  • If you agree to something in a production, get it in writing.
  • You should be properly identified or credited as the performer of your performance.
  • Your performance, including any recording of your performance, must be treated with respect.
  • You share copyright in a sound recording of your performance with the person who made the recording.
  • If you consent to the recording and/or communication of your performance, make sure you know and understand what the person making the recording will do with it.
  • You can ask for money in exchange for your consent as a performer.
  • If you want to use someone else’s songs, music or text, in your performance, you must get the permission from the copyright owner first.
  • Do not sign or agree to anything you do not understand.
  • Get legal advice on any contract.

Summary

  • Reproduction and communication rights mean that you should give your permission before anyone records and shows your work in public.
  • You must give your permission before someone can film or audio-record your performance.
  • If you agree to something in a production, get it in writing.
  • You should be properly identified or credited as the performer of your performance.
  • Your performance, including any recording of your performance, must be treated with respect.
  • You share copyright in a sound recording of your performance with the person who made the recording.

Legal Tips

  • If you consent to the recording and/or communication of your performance, make sure you know and understand what the person making the recording will do with it.
  • You can ask for money in exchange for your consent as a performer.
  • If you want to use someone else’s songs, music or text, in your performance, you must get the permission from the copyright owner first.
  • Do not sign or agree to anything you do not understand.
  • Get legal advice on any contract.
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