Related rights

In copyright law, related rights (or neighbouring rights) are the rights of a creative work not connected with the work's actual author. It is used in opposition to the term "authors' rights". Neighbouring rights is a more literal translation of the original French droits voisins. Both authors' rights and related rights are copyrights in the sense of English or U.S. law.

Related rights vary much more widely in scope between different countries than authors' rights. The rights of performers, phonogram producers and broadcasting organisations are certainly covered, and are internationally protected by the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations signed in 1961.

Within the European Union, the rights of film producers (as opposed to directors) and database creators are also protected by related rights, and the term is sometimes extended to include the sui generis rights in semiconductor topologies and other industrial design rights. A practical definition is that related rights are copyright-type rights that are not covered by the Berne Convention.

International protection of related rights

Apart from the Rome convention, a number of other treaties address the protection of related rights:

Apart from the TRIPS Agreement, these treaties cannot truly be described as global: the Rome Convention had 83 signatories as of 2006, compared with 162 for the Berne Convention.

Relation to authors' rights

Related rights are independent of any authors' rights, as is made clear in the various treaties (Art. 1 Rome; Art. 7.1 Geneva; Art. 1.2 WPPT). Hence a CD recording of a song is concurrently protected by four copyright-type rights:


The protection of performers is perhaps the strongest and most unified of the related rights. A performer (musician, actor, etc.) has an intellectual input in their performance over and above that of the author of the work. As such, many countries grant moral rights to performers as well as the economic rights covered by the Rome Convention (Arts. 79), and the rights of paternity and integrity are required by the WPPT (Art. 5).

Performers' rights should not be confused with performing rights, which are the royalties due to the composer for a piece of music under copyright in return for the licence (permission) to perform the piece in public. In other words, performers must pay performing rights to composers. Under the Rome Convention (Art. 7), performers have the right to prevent:

The WPPT extends these rights to include the right to license:

Article 14 of the Rome Convention set a minimum term for the protection of performers' rights of twenty years from the end of the year in which the performance was made: the TRIPS Agreement (Art. 14.5) has extended this to fifty years. In the European Union, performers' rights last for fifty years from the end of the year of the performance, unless a recording of the performance was published in which case they last for fifty years from the end of the year of publication (Art. 3(100 }

In the United States, there is no federal statutory right in unfixed works such as performances, and no federal exclusive right to record a performance; some states, notably California, have performer rights laws, but as of 1988 these remain untested.

Phonogram producers

The term phonogram is used to refer to any sound recording: under the Rome Convention, it must be composed exclusively of a sound recording, although some national laws protect film soundtracks with the same measures to the extent that they are not also protected by other rights. The producers of phonograms, that is the person who makes the recording rather than the person who performs, has the right to prevent the direct or indirect reproduction of the recording (Art. 10 Rome Convention, Art. 2 Geneva Phonograms Convention). The WPPT adds the rights to license:

Once a phonogram has been published, the producer cannot prevent its broadcast: an equitable fee for the licence may be either agreed between phonogram producers and broadcasters or imposed by law.

The Rome and Geneva Phonograms Conventions specify a maximum level of formality required for protection of the phonogram (Art. 11 Rome; Art. 5 Geneva): countries are free to set a lower level, or not to require formalities at all. The maximum conditions are that each copy of the phonogram should be clearly marked with:

Countries signing the WPPT shall not require any formality for the protection of producers' rights.

The Conventions (Art. 14 Rome; Art. 4 Geneva) set a minimum term of protection of producers' rights of twenty years from the end of the year in which the phonogram was first published (or from its creation for unpublished recordings): the TRIPS Agreement (Art. 14.5) extended this minimum to fifty years from the end of the year in which the recording was made. The term of protection in the European Union is fifty years from the end of the year in which the phonogram was first published, or from the end of the year of its creation for unpublished recordings (Art. 3(2), Directive 93/98/EEC).

For phonograms recorded in the United States the situation is more complicated:

Broadcasting organisations

Article 13 of the Rome Convention specifies that broadcasting organisations shall have the right to prohibit (or license):

Article 14 of the Rome Convention sets a minimum term for the protection of broadcasters' rights of twenty years from the end of the year in which the broadcast was first made, confirmed by the TRIPS Agreement (Art. 14.5). However, the Rome Convention is limited to broadcasts intended for the public [Art. 3(f)]: the Brussels Convention closes this loophole by providing for protection of satellite broadcasts not intended for direct public reception. In the European Union, broadcasters' rights last for fifty years from the end of the year the broadcast was first made (Art. 3(4), Directive 93/98/EEC).

Film producers

Directive 2006/115/EC and Directive 2001/29/EC provide rights to producers of the first fixation ("master copy") of a film or other audiovisual work under European Union law. These rights, similar to the rights of phonogram producers, are especially important in Europe, where the producer is not usually the initial owner of the copyright in the film itself. Film producers have the right to prevent:

These rights last for fifty years from the end of the year the film was first published or otherwise made available to the public, or for fifty years from the end of the year the master copy was made if the film is not released (Art. 3(3), Directive 93/98/EEC).

Database creators

Main article: Database rights

Directive 96/9/EC creates a sui generis protection in the European Union for databases that do not meet the criterion of originality for copyright protection. This is particularly important for databases that aim to be complete, as these lack the element of selection that might qualify them for protection as "compilations" under Article 2.5 of the Berne Convention (although their arrangement can still be considered creative). It is specifically intended to protect "the investment of considerable human, technical and financial resources" in creating databases (para. 7 of the preamble), whereas the copyright laws of many Member States specifically exclude effort and labour from the criteria for copyright protection. To qualify, the database must show "qualitatively and/or quantitatively a substantial investment in either the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents" [Art. 7(1)]. Their creators have the right "to prevent extraction and/or re-utilization of the whole or of a substantial part, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, of the contents of that database." This is taken to include the repeated extraction of insubstantial parts of the contents if this conflicts with the normal exploitation of the database or unreasonably prejudices the legitimate interests of the creator of the database [Art. 7(5)].

Database rights last for fifteen years from completion of the database (the point when the criterion of substantial investment is fulfilled), or from *the date when the database is publicly available, whichever is later. The protection period runs until 31 December of the year when it expires. If there is a "substantial change" in the database that qualifies as a "substantial new investment", a new protection period is granted (Art. 10).


Each new technology for creative work has led to debate over what protection should be accorded to such works, as has been the case most recently for software copyright and database rights. Similar debates occurred over the copyright protection of photographs. The Berne Convention allows a shorter period of protection than for other works (twenty-five years from creation rather than fifty years post mortem auctoris, Art. 7.4), and many countries apply a different period of copyright protection to photographs than to other works. An alternative approach, adopted notably by Germany and Italy, has been to offer full copyright protection to photographs that are clearly "artistic works" and protect all photographs, whatever their creative value, by a shorter sui generis related right. This focuses the debate on those photographs that still have value at the end of the sui generis protection (no-one would bother to try to protect photographs without value), which are the photographs most likely original. However it also means that photographs are subject to a higher test of originality than other works of art, with copyright being reserved only for those the courts felt to be particularly meritous, in contravention of the spirit (if not the letter) of the Berne Convention. The sui generis protections are found at § 72, UrhG for Germany (50 years) and Arts. 8792, Legge 22 aprile 1941 n. 633 for Italy (20 years). The different treatment of photographs and other artistic works was eliminated by European Union Directive 93/98/EEC (Art. 6), which states that the only applicable criterion for copyright protection is that the photograph be "original in the sense that they are the author's own intellectual creation", a lower criterion than used until then, but equivalent to the criterion used for other copyright works. The sui generis protection may be retained for photographs that do not meet this criterion (e.g., photographs taken automatically such as for a passport).


Design rights fall between copyright and patent law: they are sometimes considered to be industrial property and sometimes a related right to copyright. The Berne Convention requires the protection of "applied art", but allows a shorter protection period of twenty-five years after creation. Although it requires protection to the same minimum standards as for copyright, the Convention does not require that the protection be called "copyright", a fact used by many countries to protect applied art and certain artistic designs by a related design right. In countries where applied art can be protected by normal copyright term (e.g., Germany), an extremely high level of originality and creatlivity is demanded.

Insofar as designs are considered to be industrial property, their international protection falls under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.

Semiconductor designers

A common sui generis design right protects the design or topography of semiconductor materials, particularly integrated circuits. These are protected internationally by the IPIC Treaty of 1989, (see Integrated circuit layout design protection), and in the European Union by Directive 87/54/EEC. The reproduction of a protected topography is prohibited, as is the import of infringing materials (Art. 5). Protected topographies may be identified by a capital T in a variety of forms, including T* (Art. 9). The exclusive rights of the designer last for ten years from the first commercial exploitation, or for fifteen years from the first creation for topographies that are not exploited (Art. 7).

References and notes

  1. ^ Although "neighbouring rights" is the term more commonly used in translations, "related rights" is the term used in original English language documents: e.g., the Irish Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 or the European Union directive on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property.
  2. ^ Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
  3. ^ Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (from WIPO)
  4. ^ Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
  5. ^ Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme–Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite
  6. ^ Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits
  7. ^ Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (from WTO)
  8. ^ WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty (from WIPO)
  9. ^ Source: WIPO.
  10. ^ Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights (codified version). It replaced directive 93/98/EEC.
  11. ^ 17 U.S.C. Chapter 3: Duration of Copyright
  12. ^ Directive 2006/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on rental right and lending right and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property (codified version). It replaced directive 92/100/EEC.
  13. ^ Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society
  14. ^ Directive 96/9/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 1996 on the legal protection of databases
  15. ^ Copyright Law of 1965-09-09.
  16. ^ Law No. 633 of 1941-04-22.
  17. ^ This fact is used by many common law countries to explain the lack of protection of moral rights in their copyright laws: the rights are protected by other statutes or by common law torts such as defamation, passing off and malicious falsehood.
  18. ^ Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
  19. ^ Council Directive 87/54/EEC of 16 December 1986 on the legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products
  20. ^ Litman, Jessica D. (1988). "Performer's Rights and Digital Sampling under U.S. and Japanese Law". Law Quad. Notes 3. University of Michigan. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/25/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.