Certain works eligible for copyright protection are a result of team efforts. For instance, a song is the result of the creativity and skills of not only the lyricist but also of the singers and sound recording producers. When the song is ultimately made available for the public to enjoy, it also involves the work put in by broadcasting organizations. If the song falls victim to piracy, the interests of all these various parties get affected.
Therefore, it becomes pertinent to protect the rights and interests of these beneficiaries. This is where related rights come to their rescue. According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), related rights protect the interests of the persons and entities involved in producing or making the work public. While the subject matter may not qualify as works under the copyright systems of all countries, it contains sufficient creativity or technical and organizational skills. This justifies the recognition of a copyright-like property right. Also known as ‘neighbouring rights’, these rights are available to the following beneficiaries who are not technically considered to be authors:
Producers of sound recordings & phonograms
Irrespective of the nature of the work, the creativity and skills of the performer may make or mar it. Therefore, it is important to protect their legal rights and interests. Performers include singers, actors featuring in motion and dramatic works, dancers in choreographic works, etc. Interestingly, the Indian Copyright Act recognizes even acrobats, snake charmers, conjurers and a person delivering a lecture as performers.
Performers’ Rights are infringed when any or all of the following acts take place:
Unauthorized reproduction of the fixation of the performance.
The performance has been reproduced for purposes other than for what the performer had consented to.
Unauthorized broadcast and communication of the performance.
Concerning moral rights, the unauthorized use of their name and image, or modifications to their performances which would affect their reputation.
Rights of Producers of sound recordings & phonograms:
One cannot ignore the creative, technical, financial and organizational inputs by producers. It is their efforts that help to bring the song to the public via commercial phonograms like record players, CDs, cassettes, etc.
Producers of sound recording are entitled to the following rights:
Economic rights of reproduction, distribution, rental and the right to make the work available to the public.
Right to a single equitable remuneration for the direct or indirect use of phonograms, published for commercial purposes, broadcasting or communication to the public.
Rights of Broadcasting Organisations:
Broadcasting organisations play a key role in making the work available to the public through means like radio and television. Therefore, it is justified that their rights and interests are also protected by law. The organisations are entitled to the following set of rights:
Rebroadcasting of their broadcasts
Fixation of their broadcasts
Prohibiting unauthorized reproduction of the fixation of their broadcasts and those made for different purposes
Communication to the public of their television broadcasts, if such communication is made in places accessible to the public against payment of an entrance fee
International Framework for protecting Related Rights
Today, we have various Treaties and Conventions administered by the WIPO to work on the need for protection for related rights. They contain the duration and scope of protection as well as limitations and exceptions to the same.
The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (adopted in 1961) – First international organised response to protect related rights.
The Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (adopted in 1971)
The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (adopted in 1996)
Beijing Treaty on Audio-visual Performances (adopted in 2012, enacted in 2020)
Since India is a Contracting Party to these Treaties and Conventions (except the Beijing Treaty), it has adopted the provisions into the Indian Copyright Act.
Understanding Copyrights & Related Rights, WIPO, 2016, available at https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_909_2016.pdf
Section 2(qq) , The Copyright Act, 1957
The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations