Arts Law Information Sheet

Performers’ rights

Actors, circus performers, musicians, dancers and other live performers may have performers’ rights in their performances, read on to learn more about these rights.

In this information sheet:

  1. Which performances involve performers’ rights?
  2. Copyright in the sound recording of a live performance
  3. Other restrictions on the use of performances
  4. Download this Information Sheet


The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Copyright Act) establishes the copyright in works and other material (such as sound recordings and cinematographic film) and also describes three categories of rights or protections that may be available to any person who qualifies a ‘performer’. The rights or protections that flow from status as a performer are:

a share of the copyright in sound recording of a live performance that is granted to performers by virtue of s22 and s97 of the Copyright Act;
the moral rights of a performer described in Part IX of the Copyright Act; and
the performer’s protections in Part XIA of the Copyright Act related to authorising the recording, reproduction and communication of a performance.

There are exceptions and limitations to these rights, which are discussed in this information sheet.

Which performances involve performers’ rights? 

Copyright in the sound recording of a live performance 

Other restrictions on the use of performances 

Download this Information Sheet 

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Need more help?

If you have questions about any of the topics discussed above please contact Arts Law.


The information in this information sheet is general. It does not constitute, and should be not relied on as, legal advice. The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) recommends seeking advice from a qualified lawyer on the legal issues affecting you before acting on any legal matter.

While Arts Law tries to ensure that the content of this information sheet is accurate, adequate or complete, it does not represent or warrant its accuracy, adequacy or completeness. Arts Law is not responsible for any loss suffered as a result of or in relation to the use of this information sheet. To the extent permitted by law, Arts Law excludes any liability, including any liability for negligence, for any loss, including indirect or consequential damages arising from or in relation to the use of this information sheet.

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You may photocopy this information sheet for a non-profit purpose, provided you copy all of it, and you do not alter it in any way. Check you have the most recent version by contacting us on (02) 9356 2566 or tollfree outside Sydney on 1800 221 457.

The Arts Law Centre of Australia has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Australian Government - Australia Council for the Arts