© 2019

Performers’ Rights in Sri Lanka

Singers’ Melancholia


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Gowri Nanayakkara
    Pages 1-16
  3. Gowri Nanayakkara
    Pages 203-221
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 223-228

About this book


This book explores whether global music copyright law and the performers’ rights regime (PRR) have been able to improve the economic position of artists, as they were originally intended to. The author investigates whether this regime effectively addresses contemporary issues regarding royalty payments and cover songs in Sri Lankan music, drawing on the empirical findings of a case study she conducted on the Sinhala music industry. She finds that the PRR developed internationally and implemented in Sri Lanka is predicated on a particular view of the role of performers and their relationships with other actors in the music industry; although this view can be found in the USA, UK and India, it does not seem to reflect the established practices and relationships within Sri Lanka’s contemporary music industry. While providing a socio-historical and legal analysis of these differing industrial settings and investigating the manner in which they impact the PRR’s (in)ability to deliver improved economic security for Sinhala singers, the book also offers policymakers recommendations on how to supplement current national copyright law and the PRR in order to provide a secure economic position for music artists in Sri Lanka.


Performers’ Rights Performing as belonging Music Copyright Law Remuneration in Music Cover songs Sri Lanka copyright law

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

About the authors

Dr Gowri Nanayakkara is a Senior Lecturer of Intellectual Property Law and Criminal Law at Canterbury Christ Church University and an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Liverpool. Gowri has presented at international peer-reviewed conferences and panels in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Singapore, Italy and Switzerland, as well as many universities in the UK. A member of the Society of Legal Scholars, Gowri has authored several publications in which she explores the socio-economic and cultural implications at the intersection of Copyright Law, Music, IP and Investment Law. Gowri is originally from Sri Lanka, where she completed her primary legal education with Honours at Sri Lanka Law College and subsequently worked as a legal practitioner in the private bar and at the Attorney General’s Department. Her postgraduate legal studies were completed at the Queen Mary University of London and the University of Kent, UK. 

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors


“This book is a study on performer’s rights in the form of a fascinating journey into the history and culture of Sinhalese music. Deeply researched and lucidly presented, the book explains how the role and status of vocalists in modern copyright law have evolved, and discusses the challenges that still lay ahead. Singers’ Melancholia is a great reading for copyright scholars, music historians, and anyone with an interest in the inner working and development of music industry.” (Maurizio Borghi, Professor of Law and Director, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University, UK)