The Washington Post

Syria civil war not blocking all government functions

People search for casualties in Aleppo on March 30. (STRINGER/REUTERS)

Last month, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic informed the World Intellectual Property Organization (the UN agency headquartered in Geneva) that the regime had ratified the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.

The treaty was negotiated in Beijing last June, and Syria on March 18 became the first – the very first! – nation in the world to formally join it.

The treaty does not come into force until 30 countries have notified the WIPO that they have ratified it. Given how long it took to get one country to ratify the accord, what are the odds that the current regime will still be in power in Damascus when the 30 signs on?

The BTAP (as its friends call it) deals with required copyright protections for movie stars and other performers in “audio-visual works.”

So Syria may be in heightening chaos, with tens of thousands dead and refugees flooding out of the country by the millions, but at least Damascus is taking care of such vital business – far faster than governments that aren’t devoting so much time and attention to slaughtering their own citizens.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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