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Stronger Copyright Protection Sought For Audiovisual Work

19 countries have adopted Beijing treaty updating rights of performers and producers China has become a shining star in Asia's audiovisual industry and, as such, needs to offer world-class intellectual property protection for the industry, said a senior official of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Chen Hongbing, head of the WIPO's China office, made the remarks Monday at an IP protection forum on promoting the development of the film and TV industry, part of the ongoing China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

Videos are becoming an increasingly important source of information and entertainment, Chen said.

In 2017, sales of global digital content and compact discs topped box office receipts for the first time, reaching $47.8 billion, and China's 420 million live webcasts reached an industrial scale worth 40 billion yuan ($6.23 billion), Chen said.

The audiovisual industry provides great opportunities but requires more protection, especially in copyright, he said.

In 2012, the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, signed at an international meeting hosted by WIPO, updated protection for performers and producers.

Jiang Wenli, Chinese film and television actress, said she was excited when she had heard about the treaty being signed.

"For a long time, the international community has been confined to protecting the rights to performances and recordings but lacked regulation on the rights to audiovisual products," she said, adding that protection for performers' rights lags far behind the performance forms and communication channels.

The multilateral treaty has granted performers various kinds of economic rights for their performances fixed in audiovisual formats, including the rights to reproduction, distribution, rentals and availability.

In addition, it has also granted performers moral rights and the right to authorize broadcasts to the public of fixed performances.

"As an actress, I know how much effort performers have put into their work, and I believe actors from all over the country and the world desire the protection of their work," Jiang said.

The treaty will enter into force three months after 30 eligible parties have ratified it. To date, 19 countries have adopted it.

"The audiovisual industry requires huge investment and possesses high risk," said Wang Qian, professor of the East China University of Political Science and Law, who joined the work of drafting the treaty in 2012.

"Any international treaty should take the balance of interests into account," he said.

Thus, the treaty should ensure the equal benefits both for performers and producers, he noted.

In respect of rights transfer, the treaty provides that contracting parties may stipulate in their national laws that once a performer has consented to the audiovisual fixation of a performance, the exclusive rights mentioned are transferred to the producer, unless a contract between the performer and producer states otherwise.

Creators have to raise money when they make a TV or digital show, said Benjamin Ng, president of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers in Asia Pacific.

So the law should protect them and ensure their share of the economic benefits, he added.

Apart from the art form, protection of the audiovisual performances including literary works, music and folklore is also included in the treaty.

"Effective copyright protection is key to promoting the film and TV industry," said Yu Cike, director of the National Copyright Administration.

Providing a path and a legal basis during the creations' cross-border communication is the goal of the global joint effort, he said.

Author: Liang Kaiyan

Source: China Daily

Updated: 31 May, 2018

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