Today in Beijing, China, the United States and the other member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) finalized an important new treaty for performers who work in movies, television, and digital media. The new treaty, known as the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (BTAP), will strengthen the economic rights of film actors and other performers. The United States delegation played a leading role in negotiating the treaty, which represents a big step forward in protecting the rights of film and television actors around the world.
Actors have historically enjoyed limited international protection for their performances recorded in audiovisual productions. This shortcoming has been particularly acute in the digital environment. The Beijing Treaty will provide a clearer international legal framework for the protection of performers’ rights. Performers will be able to share proceeds with producers for revenues generated internationally by audiovisual productions. Performers will have new rights to prevent unattributed or distorted performances. The treaty will provide new protections for performers in the digital environment and it will help safeguard the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in television, film, and video.
Forty-eight countries, including the United States, have already signed the treaty. Signing a treaty is the first step in a process that concludes when a country ratifies or accedes to a treaty. The Beijing Treaty will enter into force once it has been ratified by 30 eligible parties.
Quentin Palfrey is Senior Advisor for Jobs & Competitiveness in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy