Neighboring rights are similar to the rights protected by copyright or authors’ rights and are applied to protect the rights of producers of phonograms, performers and broadcasters. Under the copyright system, many of the rights covered under neighboring rights are protected as copyright rights. For example, under the U.S. copyright law, sound recording producers and performers are regarded as joint authors of sound recordings. Under droit d’auteur (or authors' rights) systems, such producers’ and performers’ rights would be protected as neighboring rights. Neighboring rights, while similar in economic character to authors’ rights, may be protected at a lower level than authors' rights and are entirely separate and distinct from the higher-level rights granted to authors.
The principal international treaty for the protection of neighboring rights is the Rome Convention.