Extending Copyright Protection to Audiovisual Performances in Canada: Implementing the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances
Author(s): Stephanie C. Kolla
Traditionally, copyright was granted only to authors in their works. As the law developed, other individuals sought to have copyright extended to protect their efforts. The reform of performers’ rights under copyright has been driven primarily through international conventions, including the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), and, most recently, the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. The Beijing Treaty attempts to fill the gap left by the Rome Convention and the WPPT and extends copyright to audiovisual performances. The implementation of performance rights in Canada has flowed directly from these international obligations. Canada is not a signatory to the Beijing Treaty and, as a result, the rights granted in the Copyright Act currently reflect this gap and explicitly exclude economic and moral rights in performances authorized and fixed in cinematographic works. This article considers the justifications for extending audiovisual performance rights under the Copyright Act and analyzes the current state of audiovisual performance rights under Canadian law, specifically sections 15, 16, 17, and 17.1 of the Copyright Act. I argue that the current provisions under the Canadian Act would be enough to meet the minimum requirements of the Beijing Treaty. However, in suggesting ways to fill the gap left by the Rome Convention and the WPPT, this article considers other international copyright schemes to offer recommendations for implementing and extending audiovisual performance rights under the Canadian Copyright Act.