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Awareness of Performers’ Rights Under Indian Copyright Act: A Case Study in the Academia

This paper is published in Sangeet Galaxy:



The Indian Copyright Act protects performers against the unlawful use of their performance. Thus, Performer rights are the rights available to a performer against people who are doing illegal usage of performance. These rights are highly vital in the present period, which is dominated by the use of technology. This research paper will go over the definition of a performer, international agreements on performers’ rights, the necessity of giving performers legal protection, the legal status of performers’ rights in India, and challenges in enforcing performers’ rights amidst the rise of OTT. This paper will critically evaluate all these concepts and will demonstrate that the present law is inadequate current origin of OTT platforms. In addition to this, the success of any law depends upon the extent to which the people are aware of their rights. For this, an empirical study will be conducted to find out the implications and awareness of the law among various performers in the academic sector.


The creators are bestowed with right of copyright by the Copyright Act, of 1957, which prevents unauthorized use of their intellectual property or creative works. The category of performers to whom right is given by the law are: producers of cinematograph films and sound recordings, as well as authors of literary, dramatic, musical, and creative works, who are granted this privilege by the law. The copyright protection offered to the works of original authors, musicians, designers, dramatists, architects, and producers of sound recordings, cinematograph films, and computer software fosters an environment that is conducive to creativity, tempting them to produce more work and inspiring others to do the same. In 1914, India passed its first copyright legislation, which was modeled after the English Copyright Act of 1911. Later on, this Act was replaced by a new law ‘The Copyright Act, 1957’. This Act was updated in 1994 and 2012 to reflect the most recent advancements in information technology as well as international standards for performers’ and copyrights. There was no provision for the protection of performers’ rights in the original 1957 Act. Only after the 1994 amendment were certain performance rights recognized, which were then supplemented by other performer rights granted in the 2012 amendment.

Performer and Performers rights

The Copyright Act defines “performer” as “any person who makes a performance,” which includes actors, singers, musicians, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, conjurers, snake charmers, lecturers, and other performers.  The proviso to the definition of performer states that, except for clause (b) of Section 38B, a person whose performance in a cinematograph film is casual or incidental in nature and, in the usual course of business, is not acknowledged anywhere including in the film’s credits, shall not be treated as a performer.

The Act also defines “Performance” as any live visual or auditory presentation given by one or more performers in regard to performer’s rights.[1] In the Act, various rights are recognized to performers in order to safeguard their interests under Chapter VIII,  sections 38, 38A, 38B, 39 and 39A. Thus,  rights given to performers by the Copyright Act, 1957 are called performers rights.

Find the full paper in  www.sangeetgalaxy.co.in.

For Citation: Sharma, Ajay and Kumar Sargam. 2024. “Awareness of Performers’ Rights Under Indian Copyright Act: A Case Study in the Academia” Sangeet Galaxy 13(1): 5-19. www.sangeetgalaxy.co.in.


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