Home WIPO Copyright Treaty

WIPO Copyright Treaty

WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 Overview

WIPO Copyright Treaty 1996 Overview

The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, commonly referred to as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, was passed in 1996 for the purpose of providing for the new requirements for copyright law in an era of rapid technological development, particularly that of the digital means for storing and accessing information. 
The administrator of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the World Intellectual Property Organization, is a United Nations Agency to which almost two hundred nations are signatory. It refers to the kinds of intellectual property and associated features that may not be used without permission or improperly tampered with but does not deal with extending the periods of time during which protection under copyright law may be enjoyed.
As an internationally-based agreement, the WIPO Copyright Treaty is not enforced as such in the various member states, but is implemented through the copyright law specifically fitted to the needs of the relevant country. 
The WIPO Copyright Treaty was issued under the terms of the Berne Convention, one of the earliest agreements on copyright law made by European nations toward the end of the 19th Century. In order for a country to be signatory to the WIPO Treaty, it must already exist under the altered 1971 revision of the Berne Convention.
A primary tenet of the WIPO Treaty was to assure the place of software programs under the protection of copyright law. To this end, computer programs are considered under the Treaty to meet the qualifications of literary works as pertain to legal protection. 
This aspect of the Treaty is provided for by Article 4 of the document. Other important measures for protection under copyright law are found in Articles 6, 7, and 8 of the WIPO Treaty, which provide for the performance of such rights as providing a work for distribution and renting by others to the creator.
Other rights provided through WIPO pertain to the practical measures included with electronic items for deterring copyright law violation. Article 11 makes it an offense to attempt to get past such safeguards, while Article 12 prohibits any alteration being made to the measures through which a program or device measures the compliance with copyright law of its user.
The WIPO Copyright Treaty plays a role in the various rules and procedures through which individual nations enforce their forms of copyright law and is generally associated with the more proactive or punitive measures taken for such a purpose, such as “take-down notices” issued by Internet Service Providers for content hosted through their services asserted to be in violation of copyright law. In the United States, these and associated practices are provided for under law by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The governing body of the European Union provides for compliance with the rules of the WIPO Copyright Treaty through “directives,” which include Directive 91/250/EC, on copyright protection for software, Directive 96/9/EC, on copyright protection for databases, and Directive 2001/29/EC, on the breaching of technological safeguards.

What You Need to Know About WIPO Copyright Treaty International Implications

What You Need to Know About WIPO Copyright Treaty International Implications

The WIPO Copyright Treaty was established on an international basis for nations which were signatory members to the Treaty’s governing body, the United Nations Agency known as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as to the 1971 updated edition of the Berne Convention, one of the earliest treaties on copyrights, which dates back to 1886.
The provisions made by the WIPO Copyright Treaty for the observance of copyrights are considered to fall within the understanding of such rights established by Article 20 of the Berne Convention. As a part of the WIPO Treaty’s international nature, compliance to its various provisions are enforced not by the WIPO agency but by the individual countries involved, in which specific legislation must provide for the addressing of violations of WIPO stipulations on copyrights.
The act of becoming a signatory to the WIPO Treaty on copyrights does not by itself incur legal obligations, but rather the ratification of the Treaty within a country. Canada, for instance, signed on to the Treaty but did not ratify it immediately afterward, leading to debate within the country. 
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, passed by the United States Congress in 1998 and referred to as DMCA, provides for the enforcement of laws within the United States. In the European Union, “Directives” passed by the governing body are the main enforcement tool.
In order to supply some measure of overview in how the various signatory nations adhere to the WIPO Treaty on copyrights, the document provides for the creation and maintenance of an Assembly of the Contracting Parties which is tasked with monitoring the commitment of upkeep of the Treaty shown by various nations. The Secretariat of the World Intellectual Property Organization holds authority over the administration of the Treaty.
Some of the criticism directed against the methods in which the WIPO Copyright Treaty regulates copyrights focuses on its broad-based approach to the issues arising in or between specific countries, which critics charge is lacking in the necessary flexibility required for implementing copyright policy. 
Criticisms of this vein have commonly arisen in the context of international regulation of intellectual property rights, which less developed nations have at times asserted, as they have in reference to the WIPO Copyright Treaty, are geared, consciously or unconsciously, in the direction of nations which already have substantial “holdings” in intellectual rights.
The question of whether the originality required of new literary works could be shown to exist in software, which commonly derives many of its features from predecessors, was newly raised by a 2007 legal ruling in France on a lawsuit that had been brought for an amount of 520 Euros against manufacturers of software deemed to be counterfeits of software already on the market. 
The Cour de Cassation (similar in function to the Supreme Court in American legal practice) and Appeal Court of France found that the products of the lawsuit’s plaintiff were “banal” in the sense of being too lacking in originality to deserve legal protection as unique products.

All You Need To Know About WIPO Copyright Treaty

All You Need To Know About WIPO Copyright Treaty

The WIPO Copyright Treaty was passed in 1996 through the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency created by the United Nations. The WIPO was preceded in its role as an international copyright watchdog by the BIRPI (Bureaux Internationaux Reunis pour la Protection de la Propriete Intellectuelle), an agency created in 1893 for the purpose of administering the Berne Convention. 
The Berne Convention resulted in the Treaty passed in 1886 which provided the first wide-ranging legal framework for international copyright protection. At this time, membership in the community for international copyright protection was limited by the United States’ objection to several of the Treaty’s clauses, and by the members’ adherence to Eurocentric, colonialist ideology excluding less developed nations from the coverage of international copyright protection. 
The need for a modernized system for enforcing international copyright was answered in 1970 with the passage of the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, which created the WIPO as a section of the United Nations. There are 184 nations which are members of the WIPO. The WIPO Treaty went into effect for international copyright on March 6, 2002, with the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization acting as the depositary for the Treaty. 
The WIPO Copyright Treaty is geared toward the language of Section 20 of the Berne Convention, and is addressed to nations which are signatory to the 1971 revision of the Berne Convention. The passage of the WIPO Treaty was motivated by the consideration that prior measures for establishing the framework of international copyright protection did not include the creators of computer programs and databases under the same privileges given to the authors of original literary works. 
As such, it stipulated that computer programs and databases which could be demonstrated to have necessary levels of originality and authorship could be granted protections, including exclusive rights to publication, rental, and communication of works.
Having enumerated that these rights existed under international copyright law, the WIPO Treaty sought to ensure that individual nations signatory to its provisions would provide adequate legal measures for enforcing them. In order to protect the systems for preventing and recognizing instances of copyright infringement already embedded in digital programs and devices, the WIPO Treaty prohibited any action taken toward blocking or altering such systems.
In the United States, the ratification of the WIPO Copyright Treaty was effected with the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Congress in 1998. The Treaty became a governing standard for members of the European Union by decision of that body’s governing council resulting from a March, 2000 decision. Adherence to the policy in European Union member states is enforced by European Union “Directives,” the relevant decisions in which are Directive 96/9/EC, which extends the definition of protected works to databases, Directive 91/250/EC, which covers computer programs, and Directive 2001/29/EC, which covers tampering with program copyright safeguards. Though Canada signed the Treaty, its ratification was blocked by continued legislative debate.