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COPYRIGHT ON SHOW An insight into rights clearance obstacles in the live performance sector

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Europe is characterized by a very high concentration of performing arts organisations. In this regard, it is the market leader for this sector in the world. Theatre and dance companies, music groups, venues, festivals and other organisations within the performing arts allow European citizens to access and enjoy culture — 100% made in Europe. However, there are barriers when it comes to bringing a creative production on stage. One of the biggest obstacles the live performance sector nowadays faces in Europe is copyright clearance. Live performance organisations primarily act as users of copyright and related rights, producing or hosting a live production. The rights for the use of texts, music, photographies, videos, visual arts, choreographies, and the light or set design have to be cleared before a performance can be staged and the organisation concerned has to go through a complex and timeconsuming rights clearance process, dealing with a multitude of different right holders, respectively the collecting societies or publishers responsibles.

ISSUE #1: Touring

Touring Copyright clearance gets even more complicated when a music group, theatre or dance company is invited to perform abroad. To make creative content accessible for an audience requires a separate rights clearance process in each country where the performance is staged. Administrative burdens such as the research on rightholders and untransparent rules on copyright clearance entail high expenses and a lot of effort. Highly differing methodologies in the Member States underlying the calculation of the tariffs make an overall cost planning impossible for both the touring company and the host. The system to clear the use of intellectual property right to go on tour is getting nearly unworkable for live performance organisations.


The following table shows that a live performance organisation touring for instance to Belgium, France, Finland and Bulgaria has to contact as many as 50 collecting societies and right holders to clear the different sort of rights. Live performance production





SABAM , SACD, the composer or the heirs

MUSICAUTOR (composers, lyrics, arrangers)

SACEM, SACD, the composer or the heirs

TEOSTO, in some cases composer or heirs

SABAM, ALMO, Toneelfonds J. Jansssens, SACD, the writer or the heirs

THEATERAUTOR (plays, libretti)

SACD, the writer or the heirs

SUNKLO, NDC, writer or heirs

SABAM, SEMU, publishers


SACEM, publishers

(TEOSTO), publishers

Dance, choreography

SACD, choreographer or the heirs


SACD, choreographer or the heirs

(TEME), choreographer or the heirs

Visual arts material

SOFAM, the artist or the heirs


SAIF, ADAGP, the artist or the heirs

KUVASTO, the artist or the heirs




GRAMEX, in some cases the music publishers





Music composition (composers)

Text : play, lyrics, libretti (writers)


Recorded music (performing artists and record companies) Audiovisual work (producers)

Policy requests In order to allow for a free movement of cultural activities within Europe, Pearle* urges EU policy makers to undertake a reform of European copyright law without delay. In doing so, the following recommendations by the live performance sector should be taken into account:


A common database with all available information on rightholders for each sector


Modern rules on Collective rights management including good governance, efficiency, transparency, flexibility and accountability

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A flexible “one-stop-shop� An arbitration mechanism to solve rights clearance problems without going to court


Credit Anne Van Aerschot

In the light of the great amount of authors’ and related rights to be cleared, it is of high importance for the live performance sector to modernise, simplify and harmonise the rights clearance system in Europe. With regard to touring, a future legal framework on collective rights management should allow for the use of cross-border licences.

WHO WE ARE — Pearle* —

‘Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe’ Pearle* is the European trade federation of Performing Arts organisations. Pearle* represents through its members associations more than 4,500 theatres, theatre production companies, orchestras and music ensembles, opera houses, ballet and dance companies, festivals, and other organisations within the performing arts sector across Europe. The live performance sector is estimated to employ more than 3 million people. It is a vector for economy in related industries such as design, fashion, music industry (recording companies), crafts, instrument making, stage, architecture, facility management, tourism, printing and advertising.

Contact details Anita Debaere Director

Sainctelettesquare 19/6 1000 Brussels Phone : +32-2-203.62.96 Fax : +32-2-201.17.27

Silke Lalvani EU policy adviser

This leaflet was published in the framework of the PRACTICS project.

PRACTICS promotes and supports cross-border mobility of artists and other cultural professionals in EU countries in order to exchange best practices, increase coordination and networking within the cultural sector and provide information easy to access.

COPYRIGHT ON SHOW : issue #1  

First issue of Copyright on show, about touring

COPYRIGHT ON SHOW : issue #1  

First issue of Copyright on show, about touring