The royalties for the actor: why not all performers receive a fair remuneration


The  Confederation of Rightholders ‘ Societies of Europe and Asia (CRSEA) held the first edition of the Creative Global Talks series “Beijing Treaty: from Rome to Beijing”. The participants discussed the long history of preparing the Treaty, which entered into force on April 28 this year, identified key issues related to the implementation of this international initiative in Russia, and listened to the arguments of supporters and opponents of the document. In total, about ten experts from different countries took part in the discussion – representatives of government authorities, state and public organizations, experts in the field of intellectual property and creative industries. The full version of the video conference is available here

The Beijing Treaty on audiovisual performances extends the rights of performers involved in the process of filmmaking, in particular, according to the document, actors can claim royalties from each screening or broadcast of the film. At the same time, we are talking not only about cinema exhibitions and TV broadcasts, but also about streaming services. The rapid development of the digital market for audiovisual works was one of the key reasons for the appearance of the Beijing Treaty.

The agreement allows us to solve the extremely important issue of discrimination against certain categories of beneficiaries of audiovisual performances, according to Dimiter Ganchev, Deputy Director of the Copyright management Department 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. The Beijing Treaty is a good framework for managing rights in the digital environment. Therefore, we need rights management organizations that can negotiate with digital platforms and protect the interests of performers.”

At the same time, this document is a good reason to look at these relations in a new way, in particular, at the contractual practice.

“In 1993, with the adoption of the law on copyright, legal relations were brought under the principle of freedom of contract,” said Ekaterina Chukovskaya, Director of the scientific and educational center for intellectual property and digital economy. — The disappearance of such a normative basis as a standard contracts has caused confusion in the professional community. No one yet knew how to draw up contracts. We were able to prepare approximate standards for this area. What was particularly valuable about this work? The fact that we found a compromise between the three biggest guilds. As a result, the Producers’ Guild, the Writers’ Guild, the Directors Guild found common ground, which, in my opinion, was the only possible right way.”

In Argentina, Chile and Ecuador, actors have been receiving remunerations from screenings for several years. There are specialized organizations for collective rights management that collect and distribute remuneration , just as in Russia it is done by the RAO in favor of composers. Recently, Spain started to collect money from streaming platforms in favor of actors,  Argentina collected royalties even for the Russian biopic Dovlatov, which successfully released in theaters, but  can not transfer this money to the authors of the film, because there is no CMO in Russia that would distribute money between actors, directors and screenwriters.

Previously only producer received all the income from the exploitation of the film and the actors in most countries of mostly were rewarded through  the flat fee contract, thanks to BTAP the latter will be able to count on such form of monetization of copyright as “fair remuneration”, for example, the royalties from box office.  “The entry into force of the WIPO Beijing Treaty is a very significant moment for actors and audiovisual performers around the world. By granting them minimum economic and moral rights for the first time at international level, it sets a level playing field that will encourage countries to modernize their intellectual property regimes, giving performers the tools they need to monetize the use of their audiovisual performances and enhance their livelihood. It also resolves a terrible injustice resulting in the sole protection of audio recordings for several decades,” said Dominick Luquer,  General Secretary of the International Federation of Actors (FIA).

Speaking about the experience, 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 said: “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 use of their works on all platforms for many years.”

However, many countries have so far refrained from joining the Treaty for various reasons. Thus, the State service for intellectual property and innovation under the government of the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzpatent) closely monitors developments related to the agreement, but according to the Deputy Chairman of the State Service for Intellectual Property and Innovation under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, Samat Baizakov, the country is in no hurry to join it due to the predominance of foreign audiovisual content on the domestic market and the lack of active creative associations. It is worth noting, however, that not all the countries participating in the Beijing agreement, such as Burkina Faso, Botswana, and Indonesia, have  somehow developed film industry.

Press service of the Confederation of Rightolders ‘ Societies of Europe and Asia

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