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WIPO Copyright Treaty

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.

WIPO Copyright Treaty: Legal Implications

WIPO Copyright Treaty: Legal Implications

The 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty served as an early means for bringing the copyright issues associated with the rise in digitally driven information, programs and devices under the international framework of copyright laws. 
Under the terms adopted by the WIPO Copyright Treaty, the rights of authors or copyright holders in relation to two forms of media, computer programs and computer-based databases, are protected. In order to be protected under copyright laws, both kinds of programs must be shown to manifest unique and original qualities as are traditionally demanded of literary works.
This judgment on copyright issues is particularly applicable toward the level of protection accorded to databases, which by virtue of being composed of preexisting information might not be considered under some means for recognizing unique literary creations. 
For this reason, databases must be shown under WIPO copyright laws to demonstrate adequate levels of originality in the criteria by which their information is selected or in the format through which it is organized.
Under the WIPO Treaty, the copyright laws of various nations are held to certain obligations but are not subjected to the dominant control of a single body. Instead, nations which sign onto and proceed to ratify them are obligated to create adequate measures for preventing and responding to occurrences in which the copyright issues covered by the Treaty are raised.
The copyright issues that were felt to exist in relation to the protection of authors of digital programs or databases were dealt with by the WIPO Treaty by according three rights to such authors, which comprise of the sole right of control in how a work and reproductions of it are made publicly accessible, “right of rental” of an original work, and “right of communication” through such means as internet access.
People who infringe on any of these authors’ rights without permission will be liable to prosecution through the copyright laws established under the WIPO imprimatur. Other legal copyright issues may be raised in reference to attempts to bypass the practical means often embedded in digital programs and devices. 
WIPO copyright protection mandates that these measures of protection, referred to as “technological protection measures” (TPM), themselves receive protection under a country’s copyright laws. Other protected areas under WIPO-enabled copyright laws are what are referred to as “rights management information” (RMI), which may not be changed, deleted, or distributed to new channels without permission.
Concerns over the copyright issues raised by cases in which the aforementioned TPMs must be tampered with in the course of using a program without the intention of abusing copyright laws have been raised. The extent to which the copyright issues associated with the “fair use” doctrine is considered and administered under WIPO copyright laws is limited, comprising of only special cases. 
Some advocates on matters related to copyright issues have argued that such stipulations made in regard to the highly fluid and fast-moving world of computer development are unnecessarily restrictive of the free exchange of new techniques and information.
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