Member States Keep up Momentum for Performer's Rights

Geneva, September 27, 2002
Press Releases PR/2002/327

An ad hoc informal meeting to resolve outstanding issues relating to the protection of performers in their audiovisual performances is expected to be held in the first half of 2003. In spite of significant progress in shoring up the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances at a Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances in December 2000, agreement could not be reached on the fundamental question relating to the right of transfer, namely the question of how the performers' rights are acquired by the producers, by law or agreement (see PR/2000/248). Member states, meeting at the annual Assemblies from September 23 to October 1, 2002, also agreed to keep the issue of reconvening a Diplomatic Conference on Audiovisual Performances on the agenda of the WIPO Assemblies for 2003.

The ad hoc meeting, to which all WIPO member states and interested intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are to be invited, is aimed at supporting efforts to establish a consensus on outstanding issues and reconfirm agreement that was achieved in December 2000, opening the way for the successful conclusion of a treaty to protect audiovisual performances. Such an 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.

Before the Director General convenes the ad hoc informal meeting, the secretariat will further assess the situation and hold consultations with member states on organizational and procedural questions.

All delegations expressed their commitment to a successful conclusion of this issue recognizing the importance of concluding a multilateral agreement that will safeguard the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in audiovisual media, such as television, film and video and facilitate the international exchange of films and television programs.

At the December 2000 Diplomatic Conference negotiators from over 120 countries agreed, for the first time, a set of rules aimed at strengthening the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances. Provisional agreement was reached on 19 of 20 articles including national treatment, moral rights, and economic rights covering the right of reproduction, right of distribution, right of rental, and the right of broadcasting and communication to the public. It was the first time that audiovisual performers were accorded recognition of their moral rights against any distribution or modification of their performances which would be prejudicial to their reputations. Provisional agreement also covered protection against circumvention of technological protection which is used in the digital environment, such as encryption. It further provides remedies against any act of unauthorized removal or alteration of electronic rights management information.

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 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.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations & Public Affairs Section at WIPO:

Tel: + 41 22 338 8161 or 338 9547;