In 1996 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which, as of 2019, had 192 states as signatories, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, established a treaty with the objective of developing and maintaining “the protection of the rights of performers and producers of phonograms[*] in a manner as effective and uniform as possible. . . . Recognizing the profound impact of the development and convergence of information and communication technologies on the production and use of performances and phonograms, Recognizing the need to maintain a balance between the rights of performers and producers of phonograms and the larger public interest, particularly education, research and access to information.” Yes, a treaty that takes into account the provisions of both the Berne Convention (1971) and the Rome Convention (1961).
It is a 38-page document.
So here are a series of excerpts from it, which, may provide some insights into the rights of performers, which, somehow, seem to be almost equal to those of producers.
All of this may be worthwhile keeping in mind as the issue of remuneration for performers vis-à-vis streaming services continues to roil the music industry.
Keep in mind, however, that this treaty was established in 1996, a year after the Fraunhofer Society released the mp3 digital audio coding format and three years before the creation of Napster.
Mutare tempora, as they used to say some 1,520 years before the treaty was signed.
Relation to Other Conventions
(1) Nothing in this Treaty shall derogate from existing obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations done in Rome, October 26, 1961 (hereinafter the “Rome Convention”).
(2) Protection granted under this Treaty shall leave intact and shall in no way affect the protection of copyright in literary and artistic works. Consequently, no provision of this Treaty may be interpreted as prejudicing such protection.
(3) This Treaty shall not have any connection with, nor shall it prejudice any rights and obligations under, any other treaties
(a) “performers” are actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret, or otherwise perform literary or artistic works or expressions of folklore;
Moral Rights of Performers
(1) Independently of a performer’s economic rights, and even after the transfer of those rights, the performer shall, as regards his live aural performances or performances fixed in phonograms, have the right to claim to be identified as the performer of his performances, except where omission is dictated by the manner of the use of the performance, and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of his performances that would be prejudicial to his reputation.
Continue reading The Excerpted “WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty”