Although musical artists have enjoyed the benefit of copyright protections for decades, their counterparts on the silver screen have not been so lucky in the field of intellectual property management. But after years of negotiations, World Intellectual Property Organization officials seem convinced that audiovisual performers will soon be afforded the same "economic and moral rights" that protect musicians.
Beginning June 20, more than 500 negotiators from WIPO member states will join actors and industry representatives in Beijing for the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances. Participants are optimistic that the proceedings will yield a new IP management structure that fairly compensates actors for their work and fosters a revenue sharing process for film and TV producers in the process.
According to the draft proposals, moral rights are classified as a performer's ability to claim identification for his or her role and object to any "distortion, mutilation or other modification" of his or her work. These rights will exist independently of economic rights, suggesting that they will persist if, for example, distribution rights are later sold to a separate entity.
On the financial side of the equation, the Beijing summit is expected to finally outline and confirm performers' rights for reproduction, distribution, rental and broadcasting.