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WIPO Copyright Treaty

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.

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.