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question.jpgIn Copyrights

What are the exceptions to the right of public performance?

There are several exceptions to the exclusive right of public performance granted to copyright holders, principally of which are:

(1) Protected non-dramatic literary and musical works can be performed without the copyright owner’s permission, in nonprofit situations (such as at a school concert or a benefit) as long as four conditions are met. First, the performance must be public and must not be transmitted. Second, there must not be any intent to gain a commercial advantage by the performance (for example, a store which plays music may do so hoping the music raises the store’s popularity, which would be a commercial advantage). Third, the organizers must not be paid for the performance, although it is ok if their regular salary compensates them for their duties, one of which may be to arrange such performances. Finally, there cannot be an admission charge, or if there is a charge, after the costs of performance are taken out, the money must be for educational, religious or charitable purposes.

(2) The display or performance of a protected work by transmitting it to a place open to the public is acceptable, and not infringement, if it is received on a single receiver and if there is no charge to see or hear the transmission. This is why bars can “perform” television shows or sporting events without seeking a license.

(3) The display or performance of a protected work by teachers or students during an educational activity taking place in a classroom is acceptable, and not infringement. Thus, a teacher a can show a movie, or have the class perform a scene from a play, without seeking permission from the copyright holder.

(4) The display or performance of a protected musical work to promote sales of that work is acceptable and does not qualify as infringement. Thus, a music store can play a CD in the store without seeking the copyright owner’s permission.

(5) Non-dramatic literary or musical works, and dramatic/musical works that are of a religious nature (such as choral pieces), can be performed in a religious place of worship during the course of religious services, without first getting permission from the copyright owner.

(6) The right of public performance does not apply to architectural works or pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, because these works are generally displayed rather than performed.

(7) The right of public performance does not generally apply to sound recordings, except for when that performance is by digital audio transmission. This means that a radio station or television station can broadcast a copyrighted recording without permission of the sound recording copyright owner, although they still need a license for the underlying musical work (which stations usually obtain by getting a blanket license from ASCAP or BMI).