Contracts in the Audiovisual Sector
Contracts contain the final expression of the rights granted under international treaties and implemented in national legislation. By compensating rightholders and facilitating the exploitation of rights, contracts represent the ultimate way in which Copyright impacts creators and the creative industries. Well-drafted contracts are a key factor for an effective and balanced exercise of rights, ensuring both their efficient exploitation and the equitable remuneration of creators. The need for promoting solid contractual relations appears as especially acute in developing countries lacking effective Copyright institutions, a tradition in social dialogue and solid trade unions representing the different stakeholders concerned.
Role of WIPO
In the past, WIPO has played a very limited role in the field of Copyright contracts. The absence of international initiatives in the field of contractual practices reflects the effect of two main constraining factors. Firstly, contract law is territorial by nature and therefore subject to numerous national peculiarities. As opposed to rights, contracts have not been subject to any significant process of international harmonization in the field of Copyright. Since contractual law is extremely dependent on national legislation and jurisprudence, an international assessment of current contractual practices has seldom been made. Secondly, contracts are by nature a contentious space, an area where different positions are confronted in an effort to agree but also to overcome the position of the other party. In this context, it is very important for WIPO not to endorse the position of any contractual party, be it the original right holder (author, performer) or the creative industry (publisher, producer) which undertakes the exploitation of the creation and its transmission to the public.
In this regard, WIPO, in consultation with stakeholders in the audiovisual sector has engaged in an independent effort to provide a high level, generic and comprehensive review of contractual considerations in the audiovisual sector.
In this context, WIPO has commissioned the development of the Review to an independent consultant. The selected expert was Ms. Katherine Sand, which has a deep knowledge in audiovisual contracts and great international experience in this area. The WIPO Review also benefits from the comments of stakeholders and notably from the International Federation of Film Producers (FIAPF) and the International Federation of Actors (FIA).