This chapter outlines the legal framework of copyright and performers’ rights enforced in the UK, with reference to EU regulations where relevant. To this end, it reviews the various conditions for protection in relation to both types of rights today, and retraces some of main developments the intellectual property system endured to adapt to new technologies. The chapter concludes this overview by critically engaging with the distinction placed by intellectual property law between authors and performers which could be perceived as one of the most archaic features of the framework.
This chapter envisages the possibility of framing copyright as another regulatory tool alongside the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. It turns to copyright as an alternative to the 2003 Convention which appears to be ill-suited to protect the most contemporary forms of performances for they may fail the requirement of generational transmission imposed by the international treaty. Copyright on the other hand does not and, as such, offers possibilities on this point. However, the analysis of various national copyright laws reveals that copyright may be prone to patterns of what heritage scholars call the 'authorised heritage discourse'. Nevertheless, the chapter concludes that the heritage discourse of copyright is not inherently 'authorised' and argues that its framework could be steered away from AHD through case law.