Insights Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, Etc.) Bill laid before Parliament

The Private Member’s Bill, introduced by Kevin Brennan MP, seeks to amend the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to introduce equitable remuneration for the making available of sound recordings for performers, thereby addressing the issue of equitable remuneration for artists when their music is streamed by providers such as Spotify.

Under the Bill, where a performer has transferred their making available right in a sound recording of the whole or any substantial part of their performance to the producer of the sound recording, they retain their right to equitable remuneration for that making available. Further, the performer’s right to equitable remuneration cannot be assigned except to a collecting society for the purpose of enabling it to enforce the right on the performer’s behalf.

The Bill also provides that where an author of a musical work (or a literary work accompanying a musical work) has transferred or exclusively licensed rights in his/her work, or where a performer has transferred or licensed his/her rights in his/her sound recording performance, to any person other than a collective management organisation, the author/performer is entitled to receive from the party exploiting the work up to date information on the exploitation of the work on a quarterly basis, including all revenues or benefits generated, and remuneration due. If the information provided is inadequate, the author/performer can require the producer of the sound recording to provide it. This entitlement to information cannot be removed or restricted by contract. However, the entitlement does not apply to performers engaged under employment contracts.

In addition, the author/performer can claim additional, fair and reasonable remuneration in relation to the work being exploited if the amount of remuneration originally agreed under contract is disproportionately low compared to subsequent revenue derived from exploitation of the work. Again, the parties cannot contract out of this requirement.

After 20 years, the author/performer can revoke the transfer or licence of his/her rights in the work if the transfer or licence was to any person other than a collective management organisation.

The Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons on 3 December 2021. The Government did not support the Bill, saying that it wants first to explore industry-led solutions and will be setting out its proposals in the coming months. To access the Bill, click here.