Separating the Singer from the Song

  • Gowri NanayakkaraEmail author


The recently institutionalised global Performers’ Rights Regime (PRR) aims to improve the economic position of those performers whose work can be audio-recorded and reproduced. Vocalists in Sri Lanka as a significant constituent within the local music industry had hoped that the PRR would make their work more economically secure. This chapter, as a prelude to the discussion on the PRR’s ability to resolve the singers’ concerns, contextualises the Sinhala vocalists’ concerns grounding them on empirical findings, examining them through the traditional intellectual property theories and thereafter positioning them within the concept of ‘belonging’, a nuanced approach to encapsulate the distinctive situation in the Sri Lankan music industry.


Belonging Secure position Lockean theory Economic incentive theory Personality theory 


  1. Abbing, H, Why Are Artists Poor? The Exceptional Economy of the Arts (Amsterdam University Press 2002).Google Scholar
  2. Borghi, M, ‘Copyright and Truth’ (2011) 12 Theoretical Inq. L. 1.Google Scholar
  3. Coombe, Rosemary J, The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties: Authorship, Appropriation and the Law (Duke University Press 1998).Google Scholar
  4. Cooper, D, Governing Out of Order: Space, Law and the Politics of Belonging (Rivers Oram Press 1988).Google Scholar
  5. Drahos, Peter, A Philosophy of Intellectual Property (Dartmouth Publishing 1996).Google Scholar
  6. Fisher, William W, ‘Theories of Intellectual Property’ in Stephen R Munzer (eds), New Essays in the Legal and Political Theory of Property (Cambridge University Press 2001) 181.Google Scholar
  7. Frith, Simon, ‘Music and Identity’ in Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay (eds), Questions of Cultural Identity (Sage 1996) 110.Google Scholar
  8. Frith, Simon, ‘Popular Music Policy and the Articulation of Regional Identities’ in Paul Rutten (eds), Music, Culture and Society in Europe (1996),
  9. Gordon, Wendy J, ‘A Property Right in Self-Expression: Equality and Individualism in the Natural Law of Intellectual Property’ (1992) 102 Yale Law Journal 1533.Google Scholar
  10. Hadfield, Gillian K, ‘The Economics of Copyright: An Historical Perspective’ in R Towse and R Holzhauer (eds), The Economics of Intellectual Property Vol. 1 (Edward Elgar 2002) 133.Google Scholar
  11. Kant, I, ‘The Metaphysics of Morals, Doctrine of Rights’ 8 Werkausgabe Immanuel Kant 404.Google Scholar
  12. Keenan, S, Subversive Property: Law and the Production of Spaces of Belonging (Routledge 2014).Google Scholar
  13. Landes, W, and Posner, R, ‘An Economic Analysis of Copyright Law’ (1989) 18 Journal of Legal Studies 325.Google Scholar
  14. Locke, J, Of Civil Government: Two Treatises (J. M. Dent & Sons 1936).Google Scholar
  15. May, Christopher, and Sell, Susan K, Intellectual Property Rights: A Critical History (Lynne Rienners Publishers 2006).Google Scholar
  16. McPherson, C B, The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: Hobbes to Locke (Oxford University Press 1962).Google Scholar
  17. Nanayakkara, G, ‘Promise and Perils of Sri Lankan Performers’ Rights: The Royalty Collection in Music’ (2017) 23(1) European Journal of Current Legal Issues.Google Scholar
  18. Netanel, Neil, ‘Alienability Restrictions and the Enhancement of Author Autonomy in United States and Continental Copyright Law’ (1994) 12 Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal 1.Google Scholar
  19. Radin, Margaret Jane, ‘Property and Personhood’ (1981–1982) 34 Stanford Law Review 957.Google Scholar
  20. Slobin, Mark, Subculture Sounds: Micromusic of the West (Wesleyan University Press 1993).Google Scholar
  21. Throsby, D, ‘Artists as Workers’ in R Towse (ed), Cultural Economics (Edward Elgar 1997) 261.Google Scholar
  22. Throsby, D, Economics and Culture (Cambridge University Press 2001).Google Scholar
  23. Towse, R, ‘Partly for the Money: Rewards and Incentives to Artists’ (2001) 54(2/3) Kyklos 473.Google Scholar
  24. Towse, R, ‘Copyright and Artists: A View from Cultural Economics’ (2006) 20(4) Journal of Economic Surveys 567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (1996).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawCanterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

Personalised recommendations