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Performing, showing or playing copyright work in public

Written by Owen Ross on 03 February 2012

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The following acts are restricted by copyright:

Section 19(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 ('the Act') restricts performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work in public. This restriction is known as a performance right.

Section 19(2) states that a performance includes the delivery, in the case of lectures, addresses, speeches and sermons; and any mode of visual or acoustic presentation of the relevant works, including presentation by means of a sound recording, film or broadcast of the work.

Section 19(3) of the Act restricts playing or showing a sound recording, film or broadcast in public. This is known as a playing or showing right.

For the purpose of performance family is not considered 'public'. In Sociedad General de Autores y Editores de España (SGAE) v Rafael Hoteles SA, Case C-306/05, performances transmitted to hotel rooms were considered performing work to the public. The ECJ stated that a significant factor in deciding whether a work has been performed in public whether the person performing, showing or playing the work in public is making a profit.

Examples of performance playing or showing a work in public include:

Tribute bands performing in public without the consent of the original band.

Showing a film or playing a sound recording in a public place. (showing a film in public without consent would infringe (1) the playing/showing right in respect of the film; and (2) the performance right in respect of those works).

Making a recording of work available on a website.
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