Actors Unions SAG-AFTRA and FIA Welcome Intellectual Property Treaty

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The WIPO Beijing Treaty, which recognizes film and TV performers’ intellectual property rights, is seen as a major step towards protecting performers in a globalized, digital marketplace.

COLOGNE, Germany – Actors Unions SAG-AFTRA and the International Federation of Actors (FIA) have welcomed the signing of a new international treaty, which aims to protect the intellectual property rights of film and television performers worldwide.

Many in the industry see the signing of the WIPO treaty as a major step towards protecting intellectual property in a global, digitalized world.

A group of 122 countries signed the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Beijing Treaty on Tuesday after a six-day diplomatic conference in China. The WIPO treaty will only take effect after it has been ratified by at least 30 signing members, which include both countries and certain intergovernmental organizations.

The treaty, the result of years of negotiations, will provide a legal framework to protect and strengthen actors’ rights to their work. It will potentially allow actors to share in revenue generated internationally by their work and grants them the moral right to prevent the distortion or lack of attribution of their performances. 

“Actors and other audiovisual performers have long needed the crucial protections of this treaty, and now we can finally have them,” said SAG-AFTRA co-presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon in a statement. “With new rights to proper compensation for the use of our work and control over the use of our images and likenesses, actors will have important tools to protect themselves around the world. This rising tide can lift the boats of all actors worldwide.”

“The Beijing Treaty will make a clear difference in the lives of performers by helping us to get paid for use of our work, and giving us more control over our image and performance,” added FIA president Agnete Haaland.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the diplomatic conference in Beijing, Liu Qi, a member of the political bureau of the Central Committee of China’s ruling Communist Party  said “respect for IP is a must” and that China would “grasp this opportunity to further strengthen intellectual property and build Beijing as the first city of IP.”