World Intellectual Property Organization

Agreement on Transfer of Rights Paves Way to Treaty on Performers’ Rights

Geneva, June 24, 2011
PR/2011/692

WIPO’s top copyright negotiating body will recommend to the September session of the General Assembly to resume a Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances after agreement on the last outstanding issue relating to the transfer of rights. The convening of a diplomatic conference signals entry into the final phase of treaty negotiations, with the objective of concluding a treaty that would shore up the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances.

A diplomatic conference on the protection of performers in their audiovisual performances held in 2000 made significant progress with provisional agreement on 19 of the 20 articles under negotiation. Negotiators at the time did not agree on whether or how a treaty on performers’ rights should deal with the transfer of rights from the performer to the producer and suspended the diplomatic conference.  Member states at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, meeting this week in Geneva, were able to reach agreement on the article relating to the transfer of rights, thereby paving the way for the conclusion of a treaty. 

The adoption of a new instrument would strengthen the position of performers in the audiovisual industry by providing a clearer legal basis for the international use of audiovisual works, both in traditional media and in digital networks.  Such an instrument would also contribute to safeguarding the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in audiovisual media, such as television, film and video.  

Performers such as, singers, musicians, dancers and actors have enjoyed international protection for their performances since the adoption of the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (the Rome Convention) in 1961. In 1996, the adoption of WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) modernized and updated these standards to cover the rights in respect of the use of their audio performances on the Internet. The Rome Convention and the WPPT, however, grant protection mainly in relation to sound recordings of performances.

The SCCR also discussed better access to copyright-protected works for the blind, visually impaired (VIP) and other persons with print disabilities. A number of proposals aimed at creating an enabling legal environment for better access to copyright-protected works for reading impaired persons are under discussion. Member states requested the Chair of the SCCR, Mr. Manuel Guerra Zamarro, Director General of the Mexican Copyright Institute, to prepare a text - taking into consideration all views expressed at the SCCR - for an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities.

Progress was also made in talks relating to the protection of broadcasting organizations with agreement on a work plan aimed at advancing negotiations on an international instrument. Efforts to update the rights of broadcasters, which are currently dealt with by the 1961 Rome Convention, have grown in momentum over the past years in light of the advent of radically new types of content distribution over the Internet and growing signal piracy problems around the world. These triggered international discussions to review and update existing international standards and to ensure an appropriate balance between the different interests of all stakeholders and those of the general public.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations Section at WIPO:
  • Tel: (+41 22) - 338 81 61 / 338 72 24
  • Fax: (+41 22) - 338 81 40
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