Copyright Basics

Performers’ Rights

Performers’ consent

Updated 23 February 2022

Performers have limited rights to:

  • authorise the recording of their live performance and
  • prevent certain uses of recordings of their live performance.

Generally a performer’s consent is required before a recording of a performance is made, however schools and TAFEs won’t need performers’ consent where the performance is being done for the purposes of educational instruction.

Performers’ copyright in sound recordings

From 1 January 2005, performers have been granted some copyright in sound recordings of their performances. Previously the record company (or other commissioning party) was the sole owner of copyright. Now the performer and the owner become co-owners for equal shares in the copyright.

The rights came into force as at 1 January 2005 and apply to all recordings still in copyright.

Ordinarily, schools will be covered by the Schools Music Licence for the use of sound recordings. However, where the school intends to use a sound recording of a performance outside the Schools Music Licence, it must make sure it has the consent and clearance of all performers. For sound recordings, a performer is any person who can be heard in the recording.

Performers’ moral rights

Performers also have moral rights in their performance. These rights are in addition to performers’ copyright. They include the rights:

  • to be attributed
  • not to be falsely attributed and
  • of integrity against derogatory treatment of the performance in a way that prejudices the reputation of the performer.

This means any recording made should credit the performers.