Garcia v. Google and a 'Related Rights' Alternative to Copyright in Acting Performances
9 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2014
Date Written: October 18, 2014
A recent Ninth Circuit case, Garcia v. Google, held that an actor can maintain a copyright interest in her acting performance in a film — independent of the copyright held by the filmmaker — and that this copyright can sometimes be sufficiently powerful to allow the actor to prevent public dissemination of the film. The decision has been widely criticized for its interpretation of the Copyright Act, its First Amendment implications, and its potential economic impact on the film and television industries. But few have considered the point that “related rights” — an alternative form of intellectual property distinct from copyright and designed to protect performances and recordings — could provide a more effective way of balancing the many interests at stake in cases like Garcia. Related rights protection for acting performances is not currently available in the United States, although it is widely recognized under international law and in the laws of many European countries. This means that, under American law, acting performances must either be governed by conventional copyright law or receive no IP protection at all. By adding related rights protection to American law, Congress could stake out a middle ground between these two extremes and thus prevent quagmires like Garcia from emerging in the future.
Keywords: Garcia v. Google, Copyright, Related Rights, Neighboring Rights, Intellectual Property, International Intellectual Property
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