Ending over 12 years of negotiations, an international treaty protecting actors’ rights was signed today in Beijing. The treaty is backed by UN agency WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, which includes 185 member states. Now known as the Beijing Treaty, it’s designed to extend economic and moral protection for film and TV performers around the world. Such Hollywood stars as Meryl Streep and Javier Bardem have been big proponents of its implementation. Dominick Luquer, general secretary of the Federation of International Actors said today, “This Treaty will give performers critical rights that will help them control the legitimate exploitation of their work and benefit financially from the new digital reality.”

SAG-AFTRA co-presidents Ken Howard and Roberta Reardon jointly welcomed the news: “Actors and other audiovisual performers have long needed the crucial protections of this treaty, and now we can finally have them. With new rights to proper compensation for the use of our work and control over the use of our images and likenesses, actors will have important tools to protect themselves around the world. This rising tide can lift the boats of all actors worldwide.”

MPAA chief Chris Dodd also released a statement: “The MPAA welcomes the signing of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and believes this is an important step in the global fight to protect artists, creators, and innovators around the world. We commend all parties for making the necessary compromises and reaffirming the current international copyright framework so crucial to worldwide economic and social development. We join the International Federation of Actors, Member States, and other delegations present at the WIPO Diplomatic Conference in celebrating the first substantive IP treaty of the 21st century.”