Javier Bardem at WIPO on Actors, Film and Digital Technologies
Spanish film star Javier Bardem, Egyptian movie icon Esaad Younis, British film producer Iain Smith and Indian director/producer Bobby Bedi spoke at WIPO on July 19 about their vision of the evolving film industry and the challenges and opportunities in the digital environment.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said the visit by these respected film industry figures – speaking at a Copyright Dialogue on Film for the Geneva diplomatic community – was timely in light of the recent decision by WIPO’s top copyright negotiating committee to move forward with a treaty on the International Protection of Audiovisual Performances to protect actors’ rights. He said the proposed treaty would contribute to a more comprehensive legal framework by including actors' rights - or rights in audiovisual performances - within the international intellectual property regime.
"In many countries the audiovisual performances of actors are not recognized as rights. So one of the things we hope the new treaty would do is to establish that basic legal framework across the world." (Francis Gurry)
Javier Bardem issued an impassioned appeal to all to respect the rights of actors, saying that piracy of creative content is undermining the development of an industry that is critical to human development. “It is important for me to be here to recall that remuneration for rights as an actor is crucial.” Bardem said that, while he was thankful for being part of small minority of actors worldwide who are able to make a living exclusively through acting, he came to WIPO to speak for the rights of the majority who struggled to makes ends meet.
Esaad Younis warned that piracy threatened the world’s cultural heritage. She said governments have a responsibility to raise awareness about the damage caused by piracy.
“Each country should inform citizens that they are hurting their history…if they pirate movies, they are killing the industry.” (Esaad Younis)
Iain Smith, the producer of "Seven Years in Tibet" and other blockbusters, said that emerging and developing economies have the most to lose from the spiraling problem of piracy. He said “creativity in all its forms is our most powerful asset as human beings ... It is this creativity that will bind us together as we go through the century.”
India’s Bobby Bedi said governments have a responsibility to educate their people about understanding that intellectual property is property and that copyright is a right. He said “the entire business of keeping the world a happy place has largely to do with how it entertains itself, and not just how it eats, sleeps and works.”