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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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