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Audiovisual Performances

The protection of performers in audiovisual media has not yet been effectively established at international level. This lack of protection not only affects actors in different media such as film and television but also musicians in such situations as when rock performance is recorded in a DVD or any other audiovisual platform.

Singers, musicians, dancers and actors have enjoyed limited international protection for their performances since the adoption of the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (the Rome Convention) in 1961. In 1996, the adoption of WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) fully modernized and updated these standards in respect of sound performances, particularly in relation to digital uses, leaving a void in the international rights' system for actors and other audiovisual performers.

  • A diplomatic conference on the protection of audiovisual performances took place in Geneva in December 2000. Discussions on a possible treaty led to the provisional agreement on 19 out of 20 articles under negotiation. Member states at the time did not agree on whether or how a treaty on performers’ rights should deal with the transfer of rights from the performer to the producer, and a treaty could not be adopted.
  • Since 2001, WIPO has engaged in an intensive activity of fact-finding and research, aimed at developing information material on the pending differences and improving the knowledge of the situation of performers at national level. Most recently WIPO, in consultation with stakeholders in the audiovisual sector, has developed a high level, generic and comprehensive review of contractual considerations in the audiovisual sector.
  • In this regard, WIPO published a considerable number of studies and surveys and organized many national, regional dialogues and as well as international consultations in various regions of the world.
  • In June 2011, members of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights finally agreed on a compromise wording of the provision on the transfer of rights sufficiently flexible to adapt to different national laws, and thereby paving the way for the conclusion of a treaty.
  • Further to the decision of the WIPO General Assembly in 2011 and the Preparatory Committee, the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, took place in Beijing in from June 20 to 26, 2012 to adopt an international treaty on the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances.

Beijing Treaty

The adoption of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances strengthens the precarious position of performers in the audiovisual industry by providing a clearer legal basis for the international use of audiovisual productions, both in traditional media and in digital networks. Such an instrument will also contribute to safeguarding the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in audiovisual media, such as television, film and video.