How does it work?


The Beijing Treaty will become legally binding only once it is ratified by 30 eligible parties, including countries or certain inter-governmental bodies. It will encourage countries around the world to bring their national intellectual property provisions in line with these new international standards. The wider the ratification of the Beijing Treaty, the stronger the protection of audiovisual performances beyond national borders!




Why is this international treaty needed?


It often happens that countries do not break new legislative ground until they feel that others may do the same and on the basis of a minimum common denominator. The intellectual property protection of audio performances, to take one example, has predominantly been introduced nationally once countries have become parties to international treaties providing that treatment. Only a few countries have gone beyond those conventions and extended similar rights to audiovisual performances. In the absence of international recognition, many countries have not felt the need to introduce a meaningful intellectual property protection of audiovisual performances in their own laws and regulations.


As content is increasingly audiovisual and its exploitation truly global, the absence of a specific WIPO treaty acknowledging the rights of performers in this field was felt to be an anachronistic and unfair anomaly. The BTAP carries the recognition that all performances of literary and artistic works or expressions of folklore deserve to be protected, regardless of their nature, thus setting the record straight at last and encouraging countries to amend their intellectual property provisions accordingly.



What is the difference between ratification and accession?


In practice none. Ratifying and acceding to a treaty are essentially one and the same thing, although technically only countries having first signed a treaty can later ratify it. Signing a treaty does not impose any obligation other than to refrain, in good faith, from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty. It is not unusual for a country to sign a treaty and never ratify it, despite the fact that one act should naturally – and logically - lead to the other. The BTAP was open for signatures until June 23, 2013. It was signed by a total of 72 “eligible parties”.