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Performers get world-wide protection from treaty

26 June 2012

United Nations LogoThe treaty, signed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) conference held in China, aims to give performers a share in revenues generated internationally by audiovisual productions. It will also grant them moral rights to prevent lack of credit or distortion of their performances.

The recognition that audiovisual performers have an ongoing interest in their work will be a tremendous boost for them, particularly in countries that do not presently recognise these rights despite performers’ valuable contribution to the diversity of content, and to the success of many national audiovisual industries. The Treaty also brings the rights of audiovisual artists in line with those of recording artists. The 1996 WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty granted economic and moral rights to recording artists, but negotiations for audiovisual performers’ work had been stalled since 2000.

Each signatory country will now need to introduce the provisions of the treaty into their domestic law.

Equity President Malcolm Sinclair has welcomed the treaty. “This is an important step forward for actors world-wide, many of whom do not benefit from the backing of a strong union such as Equity. From now on actors will have the right to bargain for payment whenever their recorded work is used.”

Jean Rogers, Vice-President of Equity and present at the Beijing conference, commented: “It has been so exciting here to witness the culmination of so many years of debate! I have no doubt we can build on this. As far as the status of the artist goes this is a welcome turn around at last.”

Christine Payne, Equity General Secretary, added: “This is a great moment for audio-visual performers all over the world - at last they have an international treaty which will provide recognition of the economic and moral rights of performers when working in film, television and other audiovisual media. But the challenge now is to turn these rights into a reality. This week there has been a great spirit of co-operation and determination amongst governments to achieve this treaty, I hope this continues in the discussions they will now have with performers in their own countries. Equity is certainly looking forward to being part of discussions to implement the treaty".

Folow this link to download the full press release

Watch international actors, including Equity Vice-President Jean Rogers, welcome the new treaty:

Watch Javier Barden, Meryl Streep, Valerie Harper and other performers, including Equity President Malcolm Sinclair, lobbying for a new treaty in these two videos:

WIPO is the United Nations agency dedicated to the use of intellectual property as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity. Find out more about them here.

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