Public Performance Rights

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By Robert Brode, courtesy of Artist House


We continue our series on artists’ assets. The series began with Artists House founder, and Grammy Award winning producer, John Snyder’s article entitled, "The Magic of Copyright". This was followed by, “Your First Asset: The Right to Reproduce,” the first in a series of articles that examine the rights an artist is granted upon creation of a copyright, and how these rights relate to licenses.


We now move to another of the six exclusive rights granted to an artist when they create a copyright: the right to perform the copyrighted work publicly. One key point of this article, as it relates to your overall sustainability as an artist, is that you must affiliate with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) in order to avail yourselves of the financial and other opportunities associated with the exclusive right of public performance. The three dominant PROs in the United States are:




Below you will find an explanation of what exactly these PROs do, and how they relate to your work as an artist, but, again, in order to benefit from your public performance right, you must affiliate with one of the three.
Please read these articles in sequence, but if you’d like to start here, or if you just want a refresher, we’ll begin with a general overview of how copyright is created, and what rights you are granted upon creation of the copyright.


To be a songwriter is a powerful thing. Once you write a song and fix it in a tangible medium, you become the proud owner of a musical work copyright. Your shiny new copyright comes with a set of powerful exclusive rights. These rights, which can be found in § 106 of the Copyright Act, consist of the following: (1) the right to reproduce the work; (2) the right to prepare derivative works; (3) the right to distribute copies of the work; (4) the right to publicly display the work; (5) the right to publicly perform the work; and (6) in the case of sound recordings, the right to publicly perform the work via digital audio transmission. * . . . read more at

Artist Resource Center: 

PO BOX 66494
Houston, TX 77266-6494


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