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The UK signs WIPO’s Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances

By Patrick Mitchell and Dylan Kennett

Although EU Law has traditionally provided performers with relatively strong rights and protections (for example, the UK protects performers rights already in Part II of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988), the same cannot be said for the entire world.  However, on 12 June the United Kingdom, along with 57 other states, signed the WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances (Beijing Treaty) – twelve months after its form was agreed at the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances.  Importantly, this is the first treaty which has been approved since the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty in 1996.

The treaty aims to protect actors, dancers, singers, musicians and other performers in various ways, by creating rights to control the copying, broadcasting and other distribution of their performances. It affords rights to performers for online and offline exploitation and so brings protection of performances into the digital age.

It’s worth noting a couple of specific provisions of the Treaty.  Firstly, Article 6 provides for economic rights of performers in unfixed performances, giving exclusive right of authorising the broadcasting and communication to the public of their performances, save where their performance has already been broadcast.

Article 8 grants performer’s the exclusive right to authorise the making available to the public of the original and copies of their performances within audiovisual fixations.  This will give the performer greater control in the exploitation of their works and brings the level of protection in many of the signatory countries to a higher standard.

 Also of note, the term of protection granted to these works will be 50 years from the end of the year in which the performance was fixed.  Performers are also given moral rights in their performances by virtue of Article 5 of the Treaty.

Permanent link to this article: https://blogs.dlapiper.com/mediaandsport/2013/06/the-uk-signs-the-wipo-beijing-treaty-on-the-protection-of-audiovisual-performances/