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5 Facts to Know About International Copyright Law

5 Facts to Know About International Copyright Law

International Copyright Law

International copyright law is the cooperative
agreement between participating nations for the recognition of copyrights in
foreign countries. However, international copyright does not actually exist in
terms of an enforceable system of legislation and regulations, but rather in
the forms of treaties drafted and signed by nations that adhere to the
provisions provide for a uniform application of copyright laws at the
international level.

Various treaties, such as the Berne Convention and the
WIPO Copyright Treaty, are examples of international treaties that provide for
copyrights relations and statutes between foreign nations. Though many countries
may already have their own system of copyright laws, for the purpose of foreign
works and copyrights, international regulation is necessary so as to provide
for the inherent copyright laws to protect the author or owner of copyrighted
materials or works.

International Copyright Act of 1891

The International Copyright Act of 1891 was the
Act that
offered any copyright protection in the United States to citizens of countries
other than the United States. The
Act also made it more likely for the work of
American creators to be copyrighted in foreign countries. If a foreign citizen
mailed descriptions or their entire work to the Library of Congress at least by
the day their work was published, they could receive copyright protection in
the United States and any other country the United States shares copyright
agreement with. All work sent to the Library of Congress had to be done using
American materials to increase the rate of imports and exports. If a country
failed to recognize the work of American creators, work sent from anyone in that
country to the Library of Congress would be denied a copyright.

Berne Convention

The Berne Convention for the Protection of
Literary and Artistic Works was the first international treaty composed for the
proper recognition of copyrighted works or materials on foreign lands, as well
as to provide for proper protection of such work and its respective authors or
owners from copyright infringement or piracy. The Berne Convention was agreed
upon and accepted in 1886, in Berne, Switzerland, by various countries or
nations. It also introduced the administrative office of the United
International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property in 1893,
which would eventually become the World Intellectual Property Organization in
1967, which has become one of the most important factions regarding
international copyright laws today. The Berne Convention provides for a minimum
standard in regards to copyright laws at the international level so as to
provide for equal treatment of copyrighted works and their authors or owners in
foreign nations.

WIPO Copyright Treaty

The World Intellectual Property Organization
agreement on copyright law, commonly referred to as the WIPO Copyright Treaty,
was passed in 1996 under the aegis of the United Nations. The agreement was drafted
toward the end of providing for the emerging era in accelerated use of digital
and online technologies and providing a common international standard for
understanding how traditional forms of copyright stood in relation to these new
tools for information and business. It was issued as a clarification of the
language in Article 20 of the Berne Convention, the earliest European treaty
for general enforcement of copyright law.

The WIPO Copyright Treaty allowed for computer programs
to receive the same protections due to literary works, exclusive rights for
sale, rental and other forms of distribution of a work to remain with the
creator, and tampering with electronic safeguards to be forbidden. Ratification
of the
imposes the obligation on signatory nations of passing laws toward the specific
end of enforcing the WIPO copyright stipulations within their jurisdiction.


The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, otherwise known as the
creates an economic incentive for national policies of adherence to the minimal
recommended level of enforcement for intellectual property rights through the
advantages in trade and commerce gained through membership. This
Agreement was
negotiated during the 1986-1994 Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Trade
and Tariffs, which climaxed with its passage and the creation of the new
infrastructure of the WTO.

Due to criticism that its regularization of intellectual
property rights was geared toward the benefit of more financially and
technologically developed nations, the WTO called the Doha Round in 2001 to
advise remedies. The TRIPS agreement also pertained to digitally created
content, which it placed under the same copyright protection as literary works.
The granting of intellectual property rights primarily operates in term of the
ability to block other individuals from using the work under copyright.