The rights of the multiple authors and performers who contribute to an audiovisual work are protected by specific copyright and related regulations, which grant them exclusive rights to exploit their works.
However, because the exploitation of an audiovisual work usually requires an intricate rights clearance and licensing process involving multiple agents and intermediaries, the authors’ economic rights are in practice often placed in the hands of producers who exercise exploitation rights on behalf of the contributors. In such cases, the producers control the exploitation process and the main revenue streams.
In order to understand the functioning of the assignment or transfer of economic rights for audiovisual works, this new benchmark of the Americas shows:
- the rules, regulations and requirements that apply to the transfer of contributors’ economic rights;
- whether there is a legal presumption that economic rights are transferred to the producer; and
- the limitations of the scope or effect of any transfer of rights.
Our research shows, for instance, that Canada has no specific presumption of transfer for these rights, while a rebuttable presumption applies in the USA but only if the authors and the producer are in an employer-employee relationship. Both countries allow for the total transfer of the economic rights.
In Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, the law does not provide for any specific presumption of the transfer of economic rights to the producer but, in the rest of the Latam countries researched, these rights are presumed to be transferred.
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