Beijing Treaty

The World Intellectual Property Organization has announced the finalization of a new treaty called the “Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances“. The treaty is directed to establishing rights for audiovisual performance artists such as actors.

The treaty will come into force once 30 countries have ratified the treaty. Ratification often requires countries to amend their domestic laws  although existing copyright legislation may already include most measures included in the treaty. The U.S. position is that:

Under U.S. law, actors and musicians are considered to be “authors” of their performances providing them with copyright rights. Just as the rights established in U.S. law already provide the protection for musical performers mandated by the WPPT, U.S. law is already generally compatible with the AVP provisions. (This was also the Administration’s view in 2000.) Nonetheless, implementation of the AVP may require some technical amendments of the Copyright Act, in particular where Title 17 refers to existing international copyright obligations (“points of attachment” for parties to this treaty under U.S. law).

The text of the treaty establishes rights to authorize broadcast and communication to the public of unfixed performances, rights to distribution, rights to authorize commercial rentals of fixed forms of their performances. The term of protection under the treaty is at least 50 years from the date of the performance. The treaty also has provisions directed to technological protection measures and specifies that no registration is required.