Performers’ rights are a relatively new phenomenon in the field of intellectual property and far from a finished story. In the audiovisual sector in particular, there is still a lot of work to be done to give performers the protection they deserve.
The Rome Convention of 1961 introduced for the first time an international basic protection for performers. In 1996 this base was strengthened as far as performers in music recordings are concerned. Performers in audiovisual works had to wait until 2012 for the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performers to be adopted.
In line with the WPPT, the Beijing Treaty accords performers in audiovisual recordings moral rights and economic rights on the reproduction, distribution, rental and making available of fixed performances. There is however an important difference. While the WPPT introduced the mechanism of an equitable remuneration for the broadcasting and communication to the public of phonograms as the principle, allowing contracting parties to opt-out, the Beijing Treaty introduces an exclusive right for broadcasting and communication to the public as the rule, allowing contracting parties to introduce an equitable remuneration instead or even choose to do nothing at all (see art. 11).
Despite the fact that the Beijing Treaty was signed on behalf of the EU on 19 June 2013, it has not been ratified by the EU yet.
In 2020 Indonesia was the 30th country to ratify the treaty resulting in the treaty coming into force on 28 April 2020.
AEPO-ARTIS has welcomed the coming into force of the Beijing Treaty and expressed its strong support for ratification of the treaty by the EU without any further delay.
Ratification of the treaty will provide an opportunity to redress the current inequality between performers in the audio and audiovisual sectors in the EU.
There is no logical explanation for why audiovisual performers do not receive the same protection as other performers.
Nevertheless, EU legislation provides far fewer rights for audiovisual performers, not protecting for instance the broadcasting and the communication to the public of audiovisual fixations.