Actors on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances

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Release date: June 22, 2012
Produced by: LATIN ARTIST, International Federation of Actors
Running time: 9 minutes

For the first time in over 60 years, the intellectual property (IP) rights of actors and other audiovisual performers have been expanded and comprehensively recognized in international copyright law. A new treaty concluded in Beijing on June 26, 2012, will strengthen the economic and moral rights of performers in their audiovisual performances. The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances – so named in honor of the city hosting the final negotiations – will enter into force upon ratification by 30 eligible parties, including countries and certain intergovernmental organizations. Meryl Streep's segment of their video was filmed in 2004.

Segun Arinze, Yu Yang, Javier Bardem, Meryl Streep, Sonia Braga, Pu Cunxin, Antonio Banderas, Eugene Levy, Christine Lakin, Stacey Travis, Pamela Reed, Clark Gregg, Edwin F. Luisi, Malcolm Sinclair, John Huertas, Valerie Harper, Ned Vaughn

This is a pivotal time in the performers’ battle for IP protection, because of the increased variety and use of digital technology that makes producing, manipulating and disseminating an artist’s work so easy. In the same way that writers and composers depend upon royalty income for their survival in the long term, performers around the world must benefit as well from the income from the exploitation of their works (Meryl Streep, 2004)

The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances will strengthen the precarious position of many struggling film actors and other performers by providing a clearer international legal framework for their protection. It will give performers stronger economic rights and valuable extra income. Exactly how much will depend on how the treaty is put into national legislation and implemented. The Treaty provides a legal framework setting an expectation that countries that become party to it will pay for the use of foreign audiovisual performances, and encourage some or all of that revenue to go to the performers involved, the vast majority of whom earn very little.