Promise and Perils of Sri Lankan Performers’ Rights: The Royalty Collection in Music

Gowri Nanayakkara


Royalty collection in music is considered as the ‘holy grail’ in resolving the remuneration issue of musical artists through copyright and performers’ rights. Predominantly grounded on economic incentive theory, these intellectual property regimes promote extensive implementation and enforcement of royalty collection schemes coining the survival and sustainability of the relevant aesthetic industry and their participants. This article will examine the feasibility of musical performers’ royalty collection under performers’ rights in Sri Lanka while making reference to established schemes in other music industries such as USA, UK and India. In doing so, this paper attempts to highlight the perils of introducing a royalty collection scheme in a relatively smaller music industry in Sri Lanka that is heavily dependent on foreign music. Probing the capabilities of such a scheme to address the remuneration concerns of the country’s aging artists, a commercially vulnerable group within the music industry, this paper attempts to demonstrate how a music royalty scheme would fall short of its promise if not implemented with appropriate sensitivities to the relevant domestic conditions and with realistic expectations. 


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