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Brussels, 26 June 2012
Commissioner Michel Barnier welcomes the agreement reached on an international treaty for the protection of artists in the audiovisual sector
The Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have today signed a treaty on the protection of audiovisual performances. "The agreement reached on this treaty today in Beijing is very important because it is the first international treaty in the area of copyright concluded within the WIPO since 1996. It is also the first international intellectual property treaty signed in China," said Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services. "Actors are ambassadors for cultural expression and exchange. They have to be able to earn their living from their artistic contribution, because without the means to express themselves, no cultural expression would be possible."
Since 1996, two WIPO treaties establishing international protection rules which take into account the needs of the digital era exist, and which benefit authors as well as interpretative artists and musical performers (e.g. singers, musicians). An equivalent instrument for audiovisual performers (e.g. actors) did not exist. In 2000, a diplomatic conference took place in Geneva but it ended in failure, having failed to reach agreement on the transfer of artists' rights to audiovisual producers.
The new treaty establishes rules ensuring the adequate protection and remuneration of actors and allowing their performances to be made available, whether they are distributed on physical media (such as DVDs) or on the internet.
Following today's agreement, the Commission will take the measures necessary for the signature and ratification of this new treaty.