WIPO’s Beijing Treaty becomes Effective after 8 Years

Finally after days of distress and darkness as a consequence of novel coronavirus, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) lately announced long-due splendid news. April 28th turned out to be a remarkable day as after 8-long years, the Beijing’s Treaty on Audiovisual Performances finally came into force.

The multilateral Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances was adopted on 26th day of June 2012 at WIPO’s Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances held at Beijing, China. The key point of discussion in the 6-day conference from June 20-June 26, 2012, was to protect and empower Intellectual Property Rights of Performers in Audio-visual Performances, ultimately to improve the living and economic conditions of these actors as well as the audio-visual performers, holding a vital position in the film and television industry.

The treaty emerges to be a rainbow on a cloudy day for those performers suffering from economic and moral hardships in their day-to-day lives. As far as main provisions of the Treaty are concerned, it confers certain economic rights to the performers, four rights for performances fixed in audio-visual fixations, namely; the right of reproduction, the right of distribution, the right of rental and the right of making available. Whereas, three kinds of economic rights are granted for unfixed performances also known as live performances, in this instance; the right of broadcasting, the right of communication to the masses along with the right of fixation.

Other than such economic rights, the treaty bestows several moral rights as well including, the right to claim to be identified as the performer, together with the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that would be prejudicial to the performer’s reputation.

For a fact, the Audio-visual performers can claim protection for their performances up to a term of 30 years by virtue of this Treaty. Rationale behind such adoption is not only to uplift the economic status of the film and television industry’s beloved audio-visual performers, but also to enrich and protect the cultural diversity and folklore, existing at the core of the member countries. Without a doubt, the Treaty shall forthwith exceptional beneficial impacts in favour of Performers and the same view is shared by artists’ and performers’ advocates and also NGO’s like Knowledge Ecology International.

Following the ratification of 30th country, Indonesia on January 28th, the Treaty was passed on 28th day of April, 2020. As of now, it has 74 signatories including Cyprus, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom, amongst rest others, and has been ratified by 30 nations.

Commenting on enforcement, Director of WIPO, General Francis Gurry said, “Many of the actors and other performers in our beloved series and movies are essentially gig workers, without long-term salaries, equity stakes or great fame. The Beijing Treaty helps give these performers more rights to their work, which in turn boosts their personal revenues.”

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