|Celebrated as a blogger, Merpel is less|
well known as a thespian. She is depicted
here in her well-reviewed role of
Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet
So what does the BCC say? Here are some extracts from the press release, expertly cut-and-pasted by a Kat who spurned the initial pdf in favour of something more user-friendly:
"... Within any group of creators and performers there are times when it is right to accord special recognition for achievement. This Conference has enabled the establishment of a Treaty to recognise the work, the commitment and the contribution of actors, singers, dancers, musicians and other audiovisual performers around the world. The Treaty marks a significant landmark within the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation and brings the recognition for audiovisual performers into line with recognition for performers whose work is fixed in phonograms.Says the IPKat, the vast majority of performers he comes across work hard, have to practise and refine their skills even when they're not working, receive irregular income for irregular work and have to act as their own debt collectors, and generally have quite a tough time of it. He's pleased that this Treaty at least strikes a positive note in favour of them, though he suspects that it's a poor substitute for the sort of remuneration and security enjoyed by the staff at his local supermarket.
The British Copyright Council welcomes the Treaty and the benefits for performers and rights holders which its existence will provide for the future.
Speaking for those organisations representing actors, musicians, singers and other performers, Andy Prodger, Christine Payne and John Smith gave their reactions.
“This is most welcome news for audiovisual performers around the world. For decades Actors have been second class citizens in comparison to Musicians and Singers whose performances have much greater protection. This Treaty, when adopted into national laws around the world, will give us the chance to be properly rewarded and recognised for our skill and status as artists. The goodwill shown in Beijing now needs to be converted into positive legislation to the benefit of performers in audio visual productions and we particularly call on the UK Government working within the European Union to bring forward this legislation at the earliest opportunity” [Now who, reading the Hargreaves Review and all the debate over orphan works, the digital economy and file-sharing, would ever have guessed that performers' rights would be making a claim to shoot up to the top of the legislative agenda?]Andy Prodger, Chief Executive, British Equity Collecting Society
"This is a great moment for audio-visual performers all over the world - at last they have an international treaty which will provide recognition of the economic and moral rights of performers when working in film, television and other audiovisual media. But the challenge now is to turn these rights into a reality. This week there has been a great spirit of co-operation and determination amongst governments to achieve this Treaty - I hope this continues in the discussions they will now have with performers in their own countries. Equity is certainly looking forward to being part of discussions to implement the Treaty" [This may be some way off. The Beijing Treaty must be ratified by 30 countries and/or "certain intergovernmental organizations" before any country is obliged to implement it].Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity
“... for the first time performers will enjoy both economic and moral rights in all of their recorded and live work. We hope that the EU and UK Government ratify and implement the new treaty at the earliest opportunity [Article 5 deals with moral rights and carries this fascinating footnote: "For the purposes of this Treaty and without prejudice to any other treaty, it is understood that, considering the nature of audiovisual fixations and their production and distribution, modifications of a performance that are made in the normal course of exploitation of the performance, such as editing, compression, dubbing, or formatting, in existing or new media or formats, and that are made in the course of a use authorized by the performer, would not in themselves amount to modifications within the meaning of Article 5(1)(ii). Rights under Article 5(1)(ii) are concerned only with changes that are objectively prejudicial to the performer’s reputation in a substantial way. It is also understood that the mere use of new or changed technology or media, as such, does not amount to modification within the meaning of Article 5(1)(ii)". That should circumvent a few spurious legal claims, thinks Merpel]. ...”John Smith, General Secretary, Musician’s Union and President, International Federation of Musicians (FIM)
Andrew Yeates, attended the Diplomatic Conference as the nominated Director for the BCC which is an accredited WIPO observer member and he also worked as part of the official UK delegation at the Conference. Andrew said
"... Representatives of BCC members have given their initial reactions to the Agreement reached and the potential of what has been achieved is clear from the comments from BCC members Equity, BECS and the Musicians Union [which issued its own press release yesterday: a katpat to Les Hurdle for letting the IPKat see it] in this release. I hope that all members of the Council will join me in recognising that the new Treaty ... shows that multilateral agreement on issues affecting copyright and related rights remains a current issue. It is something for today and for the future"....".
Performing cats here and here
The BCC's favourite Beatles' track here