Spanish actors' rights association AISGE made public its demands for an international treaty on intellectual property rights in a lengthy press conference at the San Sebastian International Film Festival (Sept 19-28), which was attended by dozens of local actors.

Actress Assumpta Serna, current president of AISGE, called on the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) - which is currently meeting in Geneva - to create an international treaty to defend performers from the impact of globalisation and integrate the Anglo-Saxon copyright system with the European authors' rights system.

"Actors feel they are unfairly treated when compared to the rest of the participants in the artistic process that ends in a film or TV show," Serna said. "With the ever-increasing prospect of exploitation on a global scale via the internet and digital piracy, actors feel that without the same criteria for finding a common definition for their rights at an international level, they are left defenceless."

A WIPO statement read at Friday's press conference said that a day earlier the 179 member states gathered in Geneva had approved a proposal to reinitiate discussions on international protections for audio-visual performers. WIPO has previously failed to approve such a treaty on two occasions, in 1996 and 2000, AISGE said.

German director Wim Wenders, president of the competition jury at San Sebastian, offered his support to AISGE's demands. "As a director, and as a producer, I can only state that my most precious co-authors are certainly the actors - and this should not be questioned for even a moment. If this initiative comes late, it is better than never."