What is a Performer?

published on 09 October 2023

You might be a bit surprised to find out how the law defines performers. If we look at the statutes and international treaties, the definition is actually fairly simple.

It says that performer is a person who is performing, interpreting or reciting a literary work or artistic work. This definition suggests that a person is a natural person - a human being, not a machine or a robot.

The wording of the definition is:

“…any natural person who plays or performs an artistic work, with or without a text, using his body or skills, with or without instruments, which are presented or shown to an audience resulting in a performance which may be broadcast by any means of communication or fixed on a suitable physical medium, whether existing or yet to be created”.

So, you need to interpret, perform, artistic or literary content, which is very open-ended phrase to refer to creative content with some but low originality.

In practice, if you are in front of a camera – even a smartphone - or in front of a mic and you are recording yourself doing something that lasts a little bit longer than 10 seconds, but could be even less, depending on what you're doing.

If you're speaking, whether you are talking to your mother or you are performing a full ballet, either of these would class as a performance and would class you as a performer.

In practice, that means there are many more legal performers than there

in the context of their professional business.