Murdoch's Term of the Week: Performers' rights, licensing of

Earlier this week, we wrote about Kanye West's legal battle to gain exclusive title to his post-2010 musical output. To follow on, here is Murdoch and Hunt's characteristically concise breakdown of the legal issues surrounding the linked area of the licensing of performer's rights.


Performers' rights, licensing of

A licence of a performer’s property rights, granted by the owner, is binding on every successor in title to his interest in the rights, except a purchaser in good faith for valuable consideration and without notice (actual or constructive) of the licence: Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 s.293(4).

An exclusive licence is a licence in writing which is signed by or on behalf of the owner, authorising the licensee, to the exclusion of all other persons, including the person granting the licence, to exercise all the rights otherwise exclusively exercisable by the rights owner (ibid s.295(1). An exclusive licensee has the same rights and remedies as if the licence has been an assignment, except as against the owner, and they are concurrent with those of the rights owner (ibid s.306). In an action for infringement of a performer’s property rights, brought by either the rights owner or exclusive licensee, the other must be joined as a plaintiff or defendant, unless the court directs otherwise (ibid s.307).

Provision is made for the reference of proposed licensing schemes to the Controller of Patents and for the reference of disputes arising from such schemes to the Controller (ibid ss.265-279). Provision is also made for the registration of licensing bodies (ibid ss.280-286). There is an obligation on collecting societies (ie societies which collect royalties on behalf of performers) to register and to remain registered (ibid s.286). See LICENCES OF RIGHT, COPYRIGHT.


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