'Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances' comes into force
Global Times


A folk artist performs in a Beijing's temple fair. (Photo: VCG)

The "Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances," the first international intellectual property rights treaty named after a Chinese city that has been concluded in China since 1949, officially came into force on Tuesday, which is a milestone in China's copyright industry and will benefit global performers.

The treaty consists of a preamble and 30 texts, signed in Chinese, Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Its birth marks the completion of a new international treaty on the copyright protection of audiovisual performers, which has been under negotiation for nearly 20 years, as Xinhua reported.

Previous international treaties on copyright protection lay more stress on copyright protection than on the protection of the rights of performers, but this treaty cares about rights of performers.

The rights of performers such as actors, singers, musicians and dancers will be more fully protected by the treaty at a time when the distribution of audio-visual products is increasing around the world, The Beijing News reported.

According to the treaty, a performer may object to any distortion, alteration or other modification of his or her performance that would damage the performer's reputation. The period of protection granted to performers by the treaty shall last at least 50 years from the end of the year when the performance is recorded, the report said.

What the treaty guarantees are the rights of the performers, including the economic rights, reproduction rights and distribution rights as well as rental rights to the unrecorded performances, and the exclusive rights to the recorded performances, the right to broadcast and to disseminate them to the public.

The treaty extended the scope of performers and involved folk artists into protection. It is conducive to promote the development of traditional folk performing arts and explore more kinds of folk arts, the report added.

The treaty has been involved 30 countries since Indonesia joined in January.

"In the context of China's increasing emphasis on cultural and creative industries and the copyright of audiovisual works, the rights of performers can be recognized and protected with the treaty that has been effective," Shi Wenxue, a teacher of Beijing Film Academy and cultural critics, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

The issue of protecting performers' legal right started in 1994 but as US and European countries had many disagreements, two diplomatic conferences host by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996 and 2000 failed to have any result.

After nearly 20 years of negotiations, the third WIPO diplomatic conference on the protection of audiovisual performances was held in Beijing in 2012, and the international treaty was finally concluded, as The Beijing News said.

Under the terms of the treaty's entry into force, there must be 30 member states that have joined in for three months, so validity of the "Beijing Treaty" waited for another eight years.

China is attaching more and more importance to intellectual property protection, as Shi said. Just one week before the treaty came into force, the high people's court of Beijing had promulgated a standard of compensation in the cases damaging intellectual property rights.