New round of discussions: what will change with the entry into force of the Beijing Treaty on audiovisual performances


During the first edition of the Creative Global Talks “the Beijing Treaty: from Rome to Beijing”, held on June 16, leading experts in the field of intellectual property and representatives of cultural industries in Russia discussed the consequences of the entry into force of one the key document of the global creative market – the Beijing Treaty on audiovisual performances (BTAP). The event was organized by the Confederation of Rightholders ‘ Societies of Europe and Asia (CRSEA). The full version of the video conference is available here.

The Beijing Treaty entered into force on April 28 this year. The document expands the economic and moral rights of performers-actors, musicians, choreographers and representatives of other creative professions, and allows them as subjects of related rights to receive income from the distribution of audiovisual works, including in digital format.

Last year was a record for the number of States joining various WIPO treaties – 55 new members, and most of the accessions to agreements related to copyright, said Dimiter Ganchev, Deputy Director of the Copyright Management Division of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) : “The audiovisual market is huge. According to some estimates, it already exceeds $ 250 billion and continues to grow rapidly. Before the Beijing Treaty becomes a global system, there is a long way to go through. But even now, the agreement solves the extremely important issue of discrimination against certain categories of beneficiaries of audiovisual performances. The Beijing Treaty is a good framework for managing rights in the digital environment. For that, you need rights management organization, which will be able to negotiate with digital platforms and to defend the interests of performers.”

Alexey Kubyshkin, Deputy Director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, noted that Russian laws comply with the norms of the Beijing Treaty, but mentioned one nuance: “Over the years, our legislation has developed progressively. In the matter of intellectual property rights, we tried to be ahead of the curve. However, there is an important issue to be resolved. In our country, the producers’ and authors’ communities are very active, but we do not have associations of actors who could defend their interests, as the Russian authors ‘ society does, for example.”

Kubyshkin stressed that in Spain, such societies collect remunerations for actors from content platforms like Netflix or HBO: “I hope that in our country there will be a CMOs for actors.”

Academic Director Of the Scientific and Educational Center for Intellectual Property and Digital Economy,  Professor Ivan Bliznet noted that the entry into force of the Beijing Treaty is a historical event not only for holders of related rights, but also for the World Intellectual Property Organization itself. According to him, the new convention was needed largely because a completely new digital market for audiovisual works was formed, for which there were no practices for remuneration of performers.

For Russia, the provisions of the Beijing agreement will not lead to the need for urgent changes in legislation, believes legal adviser to the Association of Film and Television Producers, General Director of the law firm “FTM Entertainment” Sergey Semenov: “Most likely, the document will give rise to a new round of discussions on regulating the legal status of performers, first of all – on the feasibility of introducing into the legislation of the Russian Federation rules on additional remuneration for performers and, possibly, film authors. In addition, we will have the opportunity to take another look at the current legislation in terms of improving it and bringing it into line with international agreements.”

Specialized organizations and alliances can help find a compromise between the interests of different market participants and protect the rights of individual groups, said the General coordinator for the Eurasian region from the Latin American Federation of Audiovisual Copyright Associations at Writers & Directors Worldwide, Argentine film Director Silvana Yarmoluk-Stroganova: “in Argentina, every professional community has a trade Union. The society for collective management of actors ‘ rights has been officially operating since 2006. Since 2008, professional organizations have been operating to protect the rights of Directors and screenwriters. Therefore, our artists have been receiving fair remuneration for using their works on all platforms for many years.”

Samat Baizakov, Deputy Chairman of the State Service for Intellectual Property and Innovation Under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, clarified why Kyrgyzstan has not yet ratified the Beijing Treaty: “Today, the bulk of audiovisual content in the Kyrgyz Republic is represented mainly by foreign rightholders. At the same time, the national community of actors and other performers in our country does not have an active professional organization. These two factors are the main reason why Kyrgyzstan has so far refrained from joining the WIPO Beijing agreement.”

Theater and film actor Maxim Linnikov also expressed his attitude towards the international agreement: “It is great that actors have received recognition of their rights at the international level. But filmamking is a collective work, along with other authors, actors contribute to the creation of images. Therefore, the issue of introducing additional remuneration for actors should be resolved taking into account the interests of all parties. After the film is recouped, additional royalties could be a good support for the actors. After all, we all know cases when famous and well-loved actors died in poverty.”

Summing up the discussion, Deputy Secretary General of CRSEA, member of the Council On Intellectual Property and Creative Industries of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Irina Yakovleva, who acted as the moderator, said that the agreement affects a lot of players and professional elements, and therefore it is not correct to make hasty decisions: “The most important thing now is to figure out how we will implement this agreement in Russia in terms of existing economic characteristics of the Russian film industry . Before you run off somewhere with initiatives and lobby for changes in legislation, you need to calmly analyze the Russian media market and the current situation. Representatives of different professional communities of producers and actors should meet on a neutral site and develop joint recommendations on further steps related to the implementation of this agreement, which will be acceptable to all interested parties and will bring benefits, not harm.”