Performers in audiovisual performances (films, TV series and musicals) now have their own international treaty — the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances — that protects their recorded performances. Advance your copyright education by learning more about the Beijing Treaty here!
Berne Copyright Treaty
A new copyright (or copyright-related) treaty is a big deal. The leading copyright treaty, 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 176 member states currently adhering to it. (The number of Berne members changes from time to time; you can check for updates on the World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO] website, here.)
The Beijing Treaty
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 WIPO finalized a new copyright treaty, and negotiators from WIPO member states signed the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances (Beijing Treaty).
The treaty was named in recognition of the city, Beijing, that hosted the final round of negotiations from 20 – 26 June 2012, concluding over 12 years of negotiations under WIPO.
What the Beijing 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 of 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.
Click to read more about the Beijing Treaty on the WIPO website.
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 26 October 2017, the following 19 countries are contracting parties to the Beijing Treaty:
- Algeria (Acceded 25 July 2017)
- Botswana (Ratified 20 November 2013)
- Burkina Faso (Ratified 31 July 2017)
- Chile (Ratified 22 June 2015)
- China (Ratified 9 July 2014)
- Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Ratified 19 February 2016)
- El Salvador (Ratified 10 October 2016)
- Gabon (Acceded 21 September 2016)
- Japan (Acceded 10 June 2014)
- Nigeria (Acceded 4 October 2017)
- Qatar (Ratified 3 July 2015)
- Republic of Moldova (Ratified 4 September 2015)
- Russian Federation (Acceded 29 October 2015)
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Acceded 5 September 2016)
- Samoa (Acceded 9 May 2017)
- Slovakia (Acceded 22 May 2014)
- Syrian Arab Republic (Ratified 18 March 2013)
- Tunisia (Ratified 21 July 2016)
- United Arab Emirates (Acceded 15 October 2014)
You can check for updates to the contracting parties to the Beijing Treaty here.
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Want more copyright information? You may like our primer on copyright law and intellectual property, Copyright Law 101.