Related rights or more accurately Neighbouring rights are rights that in certain respect resemble copyright. These rights are not copyright but based on work protected by copyright, the most important thing is that they offer the same exclusivity as copyrights albeit do not cover the actual work.

The purpose of related rights is to protect the legal interest of particular individuals who have a hand in the availability of the works in the public space, these include but not limited to those that add creativity. Performers, Producers and Broadcasters fall in the 3 categories of the related rights.

How are the Related rights protected

Zimbabwe is a member in the International community and signatory of some of the conventions provided for by World Intellectual Property Organization and such Conventions provide protection for the related rights together with the National law Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act. Rome Convention, World Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), BTAP, TRIPS Agreement do protect the Performers, Producers and Broadcasters in various ways. This Article will deal and delve into these International Conventions their purpose and extent of protection but first its fair to define the 3 categories.


The composer and the lyric being holders of the original song copyrights and when they offer a singer to perform that particular song for instance Pax Afro sang songs written by Jonathan Moyo the former become performers of such songs and they will be given some sort of protection. The performers are provided the rights to prevent recording, broadcasting and communication to the public domain of their live performances without their voluntary consent. Failure to do so will be a violation of related rights. According to World Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) 1996 performers are also granted moral rights that is the right to claim to be identified as the performer and the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that would be prejudicial to the performer's reputation.


Their rights emanate from adding creativity to a sound recording and further more granted exclusive rights to give consent or prohibit direct or indirect reproduction, importation or distribution of their recordings and copies thereof. The rights are more commercial type of protection as they are among the immediate victims of piracy since they do not get any financial returns diverted to the illegal pirate producers. The specific rights granted to the producers are meant to protect invested time in the making of a quality recording and the creativity. These are economic and moral rights to producers of sound recordings to equitable remuneration for broadcasting and communication of the public sound recordings.


Ever wondered why not every Premier League football match is broadcasted on the National Television well let me explain. Broadcasting entities are recognized because of their role in making works available to the public and in light of their justified interest in exclusive control of the transmission and retransmission of their broadcasts. The assembly of the programs on the broadcast signal and its delivery to the audience not from the content of the broadcast but from the act of broadcasting itself gives exclusive rights to the one who owns the signals that airs a football match. The fact that such a broadcasting entity have the ability to emit the signals constituting the broadcast gives protection rights of a sort in those particular signals. Ultimately it is an investment protection. Broadcasting organizations are provided the rights to authorize or prohibit rebroadcasting, fixation and reproduction of their broadcasts.

Treaties and Conventions

Rome Convention 1961 protects related rights up to 20years from the end of the year the performance was made , recording was made or the broadcast took place, while WPPT and BTAP protects up to 50 years with an increased scope of protection of the rights of performers and producers by expanding into the digital era with protection extended to exploitation of protected works even over the internet. When such protection is violated there are various measures which can be enforced both civil and criminal sanctions.

Like copyrights, Rome Convention, WPPT and BTAP and National Laws do contain limitations and exceptions to related rights allowing for private use, use of short excerpts and for research or educational purposes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.