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OnceuponatimeifImentionedIntellectualpropertyrightsataswelldinnerpartytheguestswoulddoafaceplantintotheirsoup.Nomore.NowIbringitupandmyfriendsaresooninthemiddleoflivelyconversation.Itsahottopic.WhyBecausenotgettingpaidforyourworkcandriveyoucrazy.IthasbecomeobviousthatinthisdigitalagecreatorsincludingperformersandproducersneedinternationalprotectionoftheirintellectualpropertyIP.TheBeijingTreatyisahugesteptowardssolvingthatproblem.IntheopeningdaysofIPAbargaininginlateOctobertheleadnegotiatorfortheproducersassociationscommentedontheimportanceofthetreatyandcongratulatedACTRAonoursteadfastcommitmenttoseeingitthrough.Whichisntabitstrangewhenyouunderstandthatthetreatyisatriumphofinternationalconsensus-buildingandaninspiringexampleofperformersandproducersworkingtogether.Afteryearsofdiplomaticwranglingactorshaveachievedinternationalrecognitionofintellectualpropertyrightsfortheirperformances.Authorscomposersandothercreatorshavelongenjoyedtheseprotectionsbutperformerswerethelasttothetableandhavestruggledtoachieverecognitionlongaftersimilarrightsweregrantedtosingersmusiciansandrecordproducers.Itsabreakthrough.Andalongtimecoming.Letsgobacktothefirstscene.Itis1992arainydayinLondonEngland.MembersoftheInternationalFederationofActorsFIAunionleadersunionstafftheFIASecretariatandcopyrightlawyerstherearealwayscopyrightlawyersinthis20-yearsagaaretalkingabouttheachingneedforthecreationofasharedinternationalunderstandingofintellectualpropertyrightsforallrecordedmediaperformances.Iwasnotinthatroomin1992.InfactIwasinmyfirstyearasaneophyteACTRATorontoCouncillorbutIamfiercelyproudofthosesmartfocusedpeoplewhowerepartoftheFIAcontingentthatchampionedthiscause.Theyallrecognizedawaymustbefoundtoprotectaudioandaudiovisualperformerseconomicandmoralrightsthroughanongoingattachmenttotheirwork.ButhowtogetthejobdoneTheytooktheircasetoWIPOtheWorldIntellectualPropertyOrganizationandbeganwhatseemedlikeanendlessprocessofnegotiation.Atfirsttherewasheadysuccess.In1996WIPOpassedatreatycreatingnewrightsforperformersandproducersinaudiorecordings.Victoryinfourshortyears.Fouryearsisablinkofaneyeindiplomatictime.CanadaratifiedthetreatyayearlaterandmadetheconformingchangesinCanadiancopyrightlaw.SingersandmusiciansandrecordingproducersbegantoexperiencethebenefitsofIPprotection.Yetaudiovisualperformerswerestillleftoutinthecold.Amazing.Foractorsthisinitialtriumphmarkedthebeginningofaverylongslogtoachievewhatthesingersandmusicianshadalreadywon.In2000theWIPODiplomaticConferenceontheProtectionofAudiovisualPerformanceswasconvenedinGeneva.TheconversationwasfulsomeIPprotectionforAVperformerswasbecomingmoreessentialeverydaywiththeopportunitiesofthedigitalrevolutioncameaccompanyingchallenges.Internationalcontenttheftwaseasierandmoreprevalentthanever.ACTRAmagazineWinter201313FerneDowneyACTRANationalPresidentFrancisGurryWIPODirectorGeneralandStephenWaddellACTRANationalExecutiveDirector.PhotoYuanWenming