ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

276th Session
Geneva, November 1999

Committee on Legal Issues and International Labour Standards



Other questions

17th Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee
of the Rome Convention, 1961

1. The 17th Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (Rome Convention, 1961) was held at the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva from 5 to 7 July 1999. It may be recalled that under Article 32 of the Rome Convention, 1961, the ILO, UNESCO and WIPO constitute the joint secretariat of the Committee. Meetings of the Committee are held successively at the headquarters of each organization. In 2001, it will be the turn of the ILO to host the next ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Committee.

2. The report of the session(1)  provides information about the state of adherence to the Rome Convention and to related international copyright Conventions referred to in the Rome Convention, the Phonograms Convention and the Satellites Convention. Summarized in the report are the activities of the three organizations, ILO, UNESCO and WIPO, to provide assistance and training for developing countries with a view to promoting the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organizations. The ILO report provided information on sectoral meetings and activities in the media and entertainment sector and underlined the need for increased protection for workers in audiovisual productions, which to date were not adequately addressed in the existing international Conventions covering performers.

3. The main agenda item dealt with a study(1) requested by the 16th Ordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee in 1997 on the relationship of, and comparison between, the Rome Convention, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement); the evolution and possible improvement of the protection of the neighbouring rights recognized by the Rome Convention. The study was only available shortly before the convening of the 17th session. In addition, WIPO is in the process of negotiating a protocol on audiovisual performances to the 1996 WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). This Treaty excluded coverage of audiovisual performances. If the protocol is adopted in the near future, it is likely to provide increased protection for audiovisual performers. The Intergovernmental Committee was only able to hold a limited discussion on the study and the possible revision of the Rome Convention. There was a general consensus to express appreciation for the comprehensive study, to point to a number of controversial issues raised by it and to invite member States parties to the Rome Convention, observer States and intergovernmental organizations to submit their views and comments on the study to the secretariat by May 2000.

4. The implications for the ILO are that the Office will be responsible, in the context of hosting the next session of the Intergovernmental Committee, for sending out a reminder in early 2000 requesting the views and comments and for receiving, translating and circulating them in good time before the 18th session. As an intergovernmental organization, the ILO will also need to prepare its own views and comments on the study.

Geneva, 15 October 1999.

1. Copies will be available at the Committee's meeting in English, French and Spanish.

Updated by VC. Approved by NdW. Last update: 26 January 2000.