Reed Smith Client Alerts

The European Commission (the EC) has announced that it is opening a targeted consultation on the rights of performers and producers in the audio-visual sector (the Consultation). The Consultation will help inform the EC on whether there is a need to extend the duration of the protection of related rights of producers and performers in the audio-visual sector, as required under Article 3(2) of Directive 2011/77/EU (the Directive).

What is the aim of the Consultation?

At present, in the European Union, the Term Directive (2006/116/EC) requires member states to ensure that the protection of related rights of performers and producers (the Related Rights) in the audio-visual sector expires 50 years after the first communication to the public or the first publication of an audio-visual work.

Despite the Term Directive’s requirement that the term of protection of Related Rights in phonograms be extended from 50 years to 70 years after publication or communication to the public of the fixation of the work, the same extension was not required for Related Rights in audio-visual works. The requirement to extend the term of Related Rights in phonograms was made in the Term Directive alongside an extension of the length of copyright protection in music recordings from 50 to 70 years. That extension was introduced as it was thought performers often started their careers early and so the term of 50 years for fixations of performances did not protect their performances for the full extent of their lifetime.