On June 26, 2012 in Beijing, China, a delegation from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), of the U.S. Department of Commerce, joined U.S. State Department and U.S. Copyright Office officials in negotiating and signing a landmark multilateral treaty that advances global intellectual property (IP) rights for the creative content of audiovisual performers.
With approximately 140 signatories to the Final Act, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, or the “Beijing Treaty,” strengthens intellectual property protections for actors, musicians, and dancers globally, by requiring countries to ensure updated and consistent standards of protection for performers in audiovisual works.
“The Obama administration is committed to supporting an economy where everyone plays by the same set of rules so that American workers can compete on a level playing field abroad. Strong intellectual property protections not only encourage businesses and artists to pursue great ideas, which is vital to maintaining America’s competitive edge, but it also helps support economic security for America’s middle class,” said Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Today’s treaty is an historic and critical step forward for the entertainment world, and ensures that the creativity of our world-class actors, musicians and dancers is protected.”
Through close consultations with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Motion Picture Association of America, the treaty is the first significant advancement in international norm-setting in the copyright area in more than fifteen years, and a landmark stride for labor and industry representatives working together in the fight against global piracy.
“The Beijing Treaty strengthens the position of film and television performers by providing a clear, international framework for protection of their IP rights,” said David Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “This is critical as audiovisual works are increasingly promoted in a digital environment.”
The United States played a leading role in the development of the Beijing Treaty, dating back to a 1996 diplomatic conference that adopted the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, which similarly updated standards of protection for recording artists and record producers in the digital marketplace.
USPTO delegates Justin Hughes, Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for IP and Shira Perlmutter, Administrator for Policy and External Affairs, were also joined by U.S. Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Betty King, and Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante at the signing.