New Copyright Treaty
A new copyright (or copyright-related) treaty is a big deal. The Berne Convention came into force in 1886 and is still in effect. With its revisions, Berne remains the leading copyright treaty setting minimum international norms in copyright countries in the 168 member states adhering to it. As of June 2012, performers in audiovisual works have a treaty of their own. On 26 June 2012, a Diplomatic Conference under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) finalized a new copyright treaty and negotiators from WIPO member states signed the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (Beijing Treaty.) The treaty, adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on 24 June 2012, was named in recognition of the city, Beijing, that hosted the final round of negotiations from 20 – 26 June 2012. The treaty concluded over twelve years of negotiations under WIPO.
What the New Copyright Treaty Covers
This new copyright treaty protects the rights of performers in audiovisual works – films, TV series, musicals and more. It provides performers with economic rights of reproduction, distribution, rental and making available, in performances fixed in audiovisual fixations. For live performances, performers have the right of broadcasting, communication to the public and the right of fixation. Performers are also granted the moral rights to be identified as the performer and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that is prejudical to the performer’s reputation. These new rights must last at least 50 years in member countries and must be automatic and not subject to formalities such as registration or the use of a copyright symbol or notice.
When Will the New Copyright Treaty be Effective?
The Beijing Treaty may only enter into force, or become effective, after 30 countries have ratified or acceded to it. As of 12 July 2015, the following eight countries are contracting parties to the Beijing Treaty:
Botswana (ratified 20 November 2013)
Chile (ratified 22 June 2015)
China (Ratified 9 July 2014)
Japan (Acceded 10 June 2014)
Qatar (Ratified 3 July 2015)
Slovakia (Acceded 22 May 2014)
Syrian Arab Republic (Ratified 18 March 2013)
United Arab Emirates (Acceded 15 October 2014)
I will update this list as new countries become contracting members to the Beijing Treaty.
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