Summary of the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (1961)
The Convention secures protection in performances of performers, phonograms of producers of phonograms and broadcasts of broadcasting organizations.
(1) Performers (actors, singers, musicians, dancers and other persons who perform literary or artistic works) are protected against certain acts they have not consented to. Such acts are: the broadcasting and the communication to the public of their live performance; the fixation of their live performance; the reproduction of such a fixation if the original fixation was made without their consent or if the reproduction is made for purposes different from those for which they gave their consent.
(2) Producers of phonograms enjoy the right to authorize or prohibit the direct or indirect reproduction of their phonograms. Phonograms are defined in the Rome Convention as meaning any exclusively aural fixation of sounds of a performance or of other sounds. When a phonogram published for commercial purposes gives rise to secondary uses (such as broadcasting or communication to the public in any form), a single equitable remuneration must be paid by the user to the performers, or to the producers of phonograms, or to both; contracting States are free, however, not to apply this rule or to limit its application.
(3) Broadcasting organizations enjoy the right to authorize or prohibit certain acts, namely: the rebroadcasting of their broadcasts; the fixation of their broadcasts; the reproduction of such fixations; the communication to the public of their television broadcasts if such communication is made in places accessible to the public against payment of an entrance fee.
The Rome Convention allows exceptions in national laws to the above-mentioned rights as regards private use, use of short excerpts in connection with the reporting of current events, ephemeral fixation by a broadcasting organization by means of its own facilities and for its own broadcasts, use solely for the purpose of teaching or scientific research and in any other cases—except for compulsory licenses that would be incompatible with the Berne Convention—where the national law provides exceptions to copyright in literary and artistic works. Furthermore, once a performer has consented to the incorporation of his performance in a visual or audiovisual fixation, the provisions on performers’ rights have no further application.
Protection must last at least until the end of a period of 20 years computed from the end of the year in which:
(a) the fixation was made, for phonograms and for performances incorporated therein;
(b) the performance took place, for performances not incorporated in phonograms;
(c) the broadcast took place, for broadcasts. (However, national laws ever more frequently provide for a 50-year term of protection, at least for phonograms and for performances.)
WIPO is responsible, jointly with the ILO and UNESCO, for the administration of the Rome Convention. These three organizations constitute the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Committee set up under the Convention and consisting of the representatives of 12 Contracting States.
The Convention does not provide for the institution of a Union or a budget. It establishes an Intergovernmental Committee composed of Contracting States, that considers questions concerning the Convention [*].
This Convention is open to States party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) or to the Universal Copyright Convention. Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. States may make reservations with regard to the application of certain provisions.
* The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) also contains provisions on the protection of related rights. They are different, in several respects, from those contained in the Rome Convention and the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (1971).