New international treaty promises to empower TV and film actors
11th Jul 2012
Category: Other News
A momentous international treaty, which promises to protect the intellectual property rights of TV and film actors around the world, has been signed.
The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances gives performers in film, television and online productions an unprecedented right to bargain for payment for use of their work.
The BTAP was signed by 48 countries and intergovernmental organisations at the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s conference in Beijing on 26 June – China, the US and the UK were among the countries that joined up.
More than 500 negotiators from WIPO’s 185 members met in China to finalise discussions on the treaty.
The agreement brings an end to more than a decade of negotiations on how to better protect the rights of actors, and WIPO director general Francis Gurry hailed BTAP as ‘a major development in the history of international copyright’.
He said: ‘The conclusion of the Beijing Treaty is an important milestone toward closing the gap in the international rights system for audiovisual performers and reflects the collaborative nature of the multilateral process.’
WIPO said the treaty would ‘potentially enable performers to share proceeds with producers for revenues generated internationally by audiovisual productions. It will also grant performers moral rights to prevent lack of attribution or distortion of their performances.’
For instance, if a broadcaster stopped crediting performers at the end of a television show it could be legally challenged.
BTAP will come into legal effect when it has been ratified by 30 signing parties.
Actors’ unions around the world have welcomed the treaty, including the UK’s Equity as well as SAG-AFTRA in the US and the International Federation of Actors.
SAG-AFTRA co-presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon said: ‘Actors and other audiovisual performers have long needed the crucial protections of this treaty, and now we can finally have them. With new rights to proper compensation for the use of our work and control over the use of our images and likenesses, actors will have important tools to protect themselves around the world. This rising tide can lift the boats of all actors worldwide.’