The Beijing Treaty can now go national

creatorsProtection of Audiovisual Performances in force since April 28th, 2020

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances attributes moral and patrimonial rights of an intellectual nature to the actors and begins to recognize them as creators of the first order.

It was adopted in June 24, 2012 and becomes internationally valid in April 28, 2020 after having passed the 30 ratifications required by the WIPO, the UN office for the matter, on January 28.

This would not be possible without the hard work of International Federation of Actors (FIA), International Federation of Musicians (FIM), Collective Management Organizations of IP rights (CMOs) like the ones integrated in The Association of European Performers’ Organisations (AEPO-ARTIS) or the Federation of Ibero-American management entities (Latin Artis), just to mention the most important ones from the sector. It also achieved the support of the vast majority of performers in the world, like Meryl Streep, Javier Bardem or Eugene Levy.

The collaboration and Beijing Treaty progress are especially relevant due to the differences between the US and the EU IP Rights structuring, especially in terms of the stress on two-sides of remuneration, be it for work (at its extreme one-off, buy-out) contribution and also for the successful exploitation of artwork (correspondingly).

Beijing Treaty comes in a moment of special needs for the artists, especially hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19, bearing in mind the fact that the cinemas, film sets and theaters were the first to close and will be one of the last to open. At the same time, during the confinement the consumption of audiovisual content is triggered through television and digital platforms, without the performers obtaining any economic return in most cases.

After successfully passing the first two phases – international adoption and entry into force – there is now a third and more decisive one, that of implementing the Treaty in the different national legislations. This necessary transposition to national legal frames will serve to apply the main objective that was already determined in the first paragraph of the preamble of the Beijing Treaty: “to develop and maintain the protection of the rights of the performers with respect to their audiovisual performances in the most effective and uniform way possible”. In this way, performers can have rights from the exploitation of their audiovisual performance similar to those already enjoyed by musicians on the bases of the Rome Convention, from 1961. The Beijing Treaty should end the paradox that a performer could be remunerated from the exploitation of the phonograms recorded, but not form the audiovisual registration of the same interpretation.

The performers are the main ones interested in making audiovisual works reach the widest possible distribution and economic returns. In this sense, efficiency and uniformity acquire special relevance with the advent of new interactive or on-demand television models, led by large platforms such as Netflix, HBO, or Amazon Prime, which offer their great catalogs of audiovisual content simultaneously throughout the planet. With this in mind, CMOs need to carry out cooperation and integration processes under supranational umbrella entities, in order to put pressure on these large content platforms, so that a balanced framework for managing artists’ rights is reached, i.e. against the trend towards buy out, the participation of artists in successful exploitation can be validated.

It is especially important for the Future of Work subject matter as artists are its ‘native’ sector, due to the important periferization or inequality in income distribution, geographical and time atomization of contracts and its many times ‘expected free provision’ especially due to its ‘vocational nature’.

The implementation of the Beijing Treaty is an important step for performers from all over the world to claim their rights in all those countries where their interpretations are exploited. And this, together with Future of Work orientation, the development of a transparent, rigorous, professional and supportive international and national as well as collective governance, will allow a substantial, fair and necessary improvement of the social, labour and family conditions of the performers of the entire world.


Renata KubusRenata Kubus
CID-N Collective Intelligence Development Network



César CasaresCésar Casares
ConARTE (FIA Member).

    • September 2020
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