The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances has officially entered into force and can from today begin improving earning conditions for actors and other audiovisual performers – a development with added importance amid the negative impact on cultural production by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of the actors and other performers in our beloved series and movies are essentially gig workers, without long-term salaries, equity stakes or great fame. The Beijing Treaty helps give these performers more rights to their work, which in turn boosts their personal revenues.

The Treaty is designed to help audiovisual performers – television and film actors, musicians, dancers, and others – many of whom live from job to job in precarious economic circumstances. The Treaty expands audiovisual workers’ performance-related rights, which can translate into increased payments from retransmission – an especially critical benefit as many new productions are halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many of the actors and other performers in our beloved series and movies are essentially gig workers, without long-term salaries, equity stakes or great fame,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “The Beijing Treaty helps give these performers more rights to their work, which in turn boosts their personal revenues. If ever there was a moment to increase the amount – and predictability – of audiovisual performers’ earnings, it is in this COVID-19 era that is negatively affecting economic activity including new productions.”

The Treaty entered into force on April 28, 2020, three months after Indonesia joined as the key 30th accession or ratification. WIPO member states in 2012 approved the Treaty at a Diplomatic Conference hosted by the Chinese Government in Beijing, from where the Treaty takes its name.

If I don't ask, they can't say yes!