“Online music copyright in the European Union.”

Record producers, Artists, and Performers’ rights.


The Internet has ushered in a new, unfinished industrial era in which artists, new mass media, and music companies face a pressing transformation.

Relationships between artists, producers, and music consumers have also inevitably changed.

In the long run, the Internet has replaced traditional ways of selling, becoming the largest distribution channel and giving life to digital music stores.

Undeniably, it has allowed physical media elimination with multiple new forms of access to music.

Surprisingly, it brought artists and music users together without filters, as never before.

This major transformation has led to protecting copyright holders with new rules.

Likewise, the birth of new contractual forms regulating new exploitation forms and the use of music.

The European Union’s so-called “Copyright DirectiveNo. 790 of 2019 was gradually incorporated.

However, each Member State has introduced it differently.


For example, the Italian Law on copyright shows its nuances.

The “record or phonogram producer” is the one who provides on his initiative.

Nevertheless, he is responsible for fixing or recording sounds interpreted, performed, or represented for the first time.

He can be an entrepreneur who directly provides the first fixation of the sound. But he can also be someone who commissions it to third parties.

In the latter case, you will also have the owner of themaster rights.

In essence, the one who performed the pre-mastering.

Indeed, the one who draws from the initial tracks obtained after the mixing.

Then again, who gives life to the original master from whom all other copies will come.

Be that as it may, the Law gives the producer the exclusive rights to authorize the direct or indirect, temporary or permanent production of his phonograms in any way and form, in whole or in part, and with any duplication process.

Then, authorize the distribution of copies of the music thus produced.

The exclusive rights concern music production as a whole and in parts.


Consequently, the owner producer can authorize even reworked reproduction of protected music with or without overlapping and adding audio effects.

It falls within the copy replica’s right that the Law confers on the record producer.

Generally, performers and performing artists are the:

  • actors;
  • singers;
  • musicians;
  • dancers;
  • And other people who:
  • represent;
  • sing;
  • recite;
  • declaim;
  • or perform intellectual works in all manners, whether protected or in the public domain.

Artists are also entitled to remuneration for their live artistic performances.

Furthermore, they have exclusive rights to authorize the recording of their live performances and the direct or indirect reproduction of said recorded performances (for example, through the radio).

They are entitled to authorize sound on-air broadcasts and live performances communication to the public in any way and form, excluding television transmission and versions already recorded for broadcasting.

New forms of exploitation and distribution of music with new technologies.


Moreover, regarding music on phonographic support used for profit, the Law allocates a fee to artists or performers on an agreement between the parties or regulation.

Whereas, in the case of non-profit use, the Law accredits an equitable remuneration to artists in any case.

Similarly, they have the exclusive rights to authorize the distribution of recordings of their artistic performances.

Unquestionably, artists’ permission to distribute changes in versions is mandatory throughout the European Union.

Still, not so in the Member States where the license, or consent, is already there for the first time.

Artists are even entitled to authorize the rental and loan of recordings and their reproductions.


Simultaneously, when the right to allow the rental has expired and a producer of phonograms, cinematographic, audiovisual works, or moving image sequences leases the work to third parties, artists are still entitled to fair remuneration.

Any contrary agreement is considered null and void by Law.

However, the same Law providing the above mitigates this rule.

That being so, the Law presumes rights’ definitive transfer for:

  • sub-rental;
  • recording;
  • reproduction;
  • broadcasting;
  • and distribution,

All the above, as long as a contract stipulation to produce a cinematographic or audiovisual work or moving image sequences occurs. Unless otherwise agreed by the contracting parties.

After this one, don’t miss out on the second part of this series to learn more about “new forms of music distribution,” “Web Radio,” “music piracy,” and “sanctions on breach of copyrights.”

How you can enter into a contract concerning music exploitation today.


You might care to know that a contract form regarding a “true tone commission agreement” on music exploitation for cell phone tone rings is available.

Please find and download it by clicking on the www.lexhub.com link here below:


“Italynlaw” Law Firm issued this Article.

Image 16: Street Artist/Saxophonist in Philadelphia Old City – Pennsylvania (U.S.A.).

Source: “Italynlaw” Law Firm. May 2022.

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