2012

Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances – Beijing, June 20-26 2012

Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances

Reporting from Beijing, Jean Rogers, Actress and Chairman, British Equity Collecting Society, said:

“It has been so exciting here to witness the culmination of so many years of debate! I have no doubt we can build on this. As far as the status of the artist goes, this is a welcome turn around at last.”

Within any group of creators and performers there are times when it is right to accord special recognition for achievement. This Conference has enabled the establishment of a Treaty to recognise the work, the commitment and the contribution of actors, singers, dancers, musicians and other audiovisual performers around the world.

The Treaty marks a significant landmark within the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and brings the recognition for audiovisual performers into line with recognition for performers whose work is fixed in phonograms.

The British Copyright Council welcomes the Treaty and the benefits for performers and rights holders which its existence will provide for the future.

Speaking for those organisations representing actors, musicians, singers and other performers, Andy Prodger, Christine Payne and John Smith gave their reactions.

“This is most welcome news for audiovisual performers around the world. For decades Actors have been second class citizens in comparison to Musicians and Singers whose performances have much greater protection. This Treaty, when adopted into national laws around the world, will give us the chance to be properly rewarded and recognised for our skill and status as artists. The goodwill shown in Beijing now needs to be converted into positive legislation to the benefit of performers in audio visual productions and we particularly call on the UK Government working within the European Union to bring forward this legislation at the earliest opportunity.”

Andy Prodger, Chief Executive, British Equity Collecting Society

"This is a great moment for audio-visual performers all over the world - at last they have an international treaty which will provide recognition of the economic and moral rights of performers when working in film, television and other audiovisual media. But the challenge now is to turn these rights into a reality. This week there has been a great spirit of co-operation and determination amongst governments to achieve this Treaty - I hope this continues in the discussions they will now have with performers in their own countries. Equity is certainly looking forward to being part of discussions to implement the Treaty".

Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity

“Being present at the historic WIPO Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances in Beijing has been a great honour. This week the WIPO member states have agreed a treaty which extends the protection of performers' intellectual property rights, already enjoyed in audio productions and live performance to audiovisual productions. This means that for the first time performers will enjoy both economic and moral rights in all of their recorded and live work. We hope that the EU and UK Government ratify and implement the new treaty at the earliest opportunity.

On behalf of the performers that I represent I thank the Government of the People's Republic of China for hosting this conference, and the WIPO Secretariat for all of the hard work that they have put into this ground breaking treaty. I also thank the representatives of all of the Member States present who have demonstrated such goodwill towards the performers' community during the course of these intricate negotiations.”

John Smith, General Secretary, Musician’s Union and
President, International Federation of Musicians (FIM)

Andrew Yeates, attended the Diplomatic Conference as the nominated Director for the BCC which is an accredited WIPO observer member and he also worked as part of the official UK delegation at the Conference. Andrew said

"Coming from a family in which my father and my son are actors, it was a particular privilege for me to be invited to represent the Council at the Diplomatic Conference in Beijing. The Conference has proved to be a historic one. It has provided for greater international recognition being given to the creative endeavours of actors, singers, dancers and other audiovisual performers.

Representatives of BCC members have given their initial reactions to the Agreement reached and the potential of what has been achieved is clear from the comments from BCC members Equity, BECS and the Musicians Union in this release. I hope that all members of the Council will join me in recognising that the new Treaty is valuable for all Members. It shows that multilateral agreement on issues affecting copyright and related rights remains a current issue. It is something for today and for the future."

Professor Adrian Sterling, BCC Vice President, attended the Beijing Conference as a member of the Observer Delegation of the Asian Pacific Copyright Association (APCA) an organisation recently established to provide a discussion forum and support for the maintenance and recognition of copyright and related rights in the Asian Pacific Region and which hopes to achieve close contact with the BCC. Professor Sterling writes:

“The Beijing Conference was remarkable in two respects. Firstly in the achievement of the AVP Treaty granting extensive rights to audiovisual performers following an arduous campaign which has extended over 51 years since the first battles which I witnessed on this subject at the Rome Convention Conference in 1961, and which has now succeeded at this Conference by the brilliant organisation of WIPO and the exceptional facilities provided by the Government of the People's Republic of China. Secondly, the Conference was remarkable for the clear and emphasised support of copyright and related rights publicly announced by the Chinese Government, something which will be of crucial importance for authors, performers and other rightowners in the national, regional and international recognition and exercise of copyright in the digital era. At the opening of the Conference State Counsellor Madame Liu stated:

"The recognition of intellectual property is a mark of the degree of our civilization.”

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Jean_Rogers_1.jpgJean Rogers, Actress & Chairman, British Equity Collecting Society

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