Understanding the Importance of Treaties

Understanding the Importance of Treaties

Understanding the Importance of Treaties

In terms of international copyright law, treaties dealing with the various aspects of copyrights are deemed to be crucial at the international level. All countries have their own legislative systems governing copyright laws and impose their own various regulations, restrictions, and rights, all differing from one country to the next. International regulation of copyrights, particularly the recognition of copyright laws among foreign countries, became a growing concern. Countries would simply not recognize copyrights given under other nations’ policies and copyright laws, and foreign works were free to be infringed or pirated.

There is no true international copyright law legislation in place governing the various aspects of copyrights and their inherent protection rights. All international copyright laws are really in the form of treaties which, through the collective agreement of nations, has come to enact as international copyright law. The importance of treaties in terms of copyright law is paramount.

The enforcement of other nations’ copyright laws in foreign countries became a necessity that was finally addressed with the inception of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886, an agreement among several nations that took place in Switzerland, in the city that bears the Treaty's name.

The Berne Convention would become the first Treaty to act as an international copyright law by allowing for basic statutes and regulations provided by its legislature. The Berne Convention was designed in a way that simplicity would allow for the adherence of copyright provisions at the international level, while providing for less confusion by having to adapt to each particular nation's own copyright laws.

The Berne Convention would essentially become the model which all international copyright treaties would follow, while adapting and adding further provisions to account for certain means such as advancements in science and technologies. With technology constantly evolving, so did the works and materials that could by copyrighted. Consequently, so did the means and methods for infringement and copyright violations.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) formed in 1974 out of the Berne Convention's original administrative faction named the United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property, or BIRPI, as it was best known. The WIPO would introduce the WIPO Copyright Treaty, which is in agreement with Berne Convention provisions, while providing for further considerations for computer programs and databases and their copyrights protection. 

It also provides for restrictions regarding the circumvention of technological or digital copyright protections, and also instating various circumstances in which such circumventions may be allowed. Such provisions are similar to those of the United States' Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which undoubtedly drew certain inspiration from the WIPO Copyright Treaty. 

These international treaties would prove to be absolutely essential in the governing of copyrights and protection of the works and authors at the international level. The lack of international copyright laws as a legitimate body strictly providing for legislation and methods of enforcements makes these copyright treaties extremely important. 

In essence, all international copyright treaties are observed as a cohesive international copyright law and countries that are under the Berne Convention will continue to respect those basic copyright provisions as such, at least until the formation of a uniform body or code of international copyright law is constructed.




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