On the basis of the Copyright Act, the copyright belongs to the composer, the creator of the work. With regard to this right, he or she can choose to be represented by Buma/Stemra. The commissioning party will not acquire any copyright through granting the assignment and will have to come to an arrangement with the composer or Buma/Stemra with regard to the performance rights and the mechanical reproduction rights (such as CDs and EPs).

As a rule, the performance rights of musical-dramatic works (operas, ballet works and musical theatre pieces) constitute an exceptional situation. With regard to these copyrights, Buma/Stemra does NOT, in principle, take action in connection with the scenic performances (and TV broadcasts of these works). These rights are not automatically transferred by the composer to Buma/Stemra. The composer is, however, free to do this. The author determines whether or not a work falls under grand rights. The mechanical reproduction rights for musical-dramatic works (simply stated: opera on record) are, however, represented by Buma/Stemra.

In the case of scenic performances (and TV broadcasts) of an opera, ballet or musical theatre piece, the composer is entitled to take responsibility for arranging the performance and broadcasting rights him or herself. The composer can also decide not to do that him or herself. It is not, for example unusual for the publisher to conduct these negotiations for the composer. In such a case, it is wise not to delegate more powers to the negotiator than is necessary for conducting the negotiations.

The broadcasters unilaterally apply a standard contract and a table of broadcasting right fees, and like to present this as standard. The composer is not bound by this and can also negotiate the broadcasting rights with the broadcasters in the performance rights situation.

More information about copyright? Visit www.auteursrecht.nl.