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Controversial copyright reform introduced

By Luis C. Schmidt, Partner
Managing Intellectual Property, International Briefings, October 2004
Congress last year passed an amendment to the copyright law that has had a significant impact on some entertainment industries.
The provisions passed into law state that authors and performing artists will have a right to remuneration for the public performance of works that they have authored.
The right exists regardless of whether the authors or performers hold the patrimonial right of public performance or whether they have disposed of that right by an assignment or any form of transfer.
The new system has created a duality as it will be possible to find that the owner of the patrimonial right of public performance, for example an assignee of rights, will have the right to seek a royalty from users of the works, while authors and performers will have a similar right to remuneration from the users, for the same act of public performance of the work.
The issue will necessarily go further, considering that it will be technically possible that authors and performers have rights at the same time to royalties, deriving from the patrimonial rights, and to remuneration, deriving from the new system. It is however clear that the confusing theory that the Mexican Congress has approved and adopted is not only unlawful but unconstitutional. Already broadcasters and film exhibitors have challenged the reform and the court system will have to resolve is soon.