The reproduction right gives the copyright owner the exclusive right to make copies of his work. For example, if you own a copyright in a sound recording, you have the exclusive right to make copies of the sound recording through CDs, cassette tapes or by any other means.
For composers of music, the reproduction right is limited by the right of others to make a sound recording once a composer has recorded and distributed copies of his composition. We will talk more about this limitation under the mechanical license section.
For performers who own a copyright in the sound recording, the reproduction right gives the exclusive right to prevent duplication of the sound recording. However, the copyright owner cannot prevent an imitation. The owner of the copyright cannot prevent somebody from gathering their own artists, equipment and engineers and recording the same song to sound exactly like the earlier recording. This might be the reason many record contracts have provisions requiring performers to agree to work for that label exclusively for a specified number of years.