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Understanding Effect of Berne Convention

Understanding Effect of Berne Convention

The Berne
Convention was one of the first international agreements involving copyright
law. It was held in Berne, Switzerland in 1886. It is also known as the Berne
Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

The Berne
Convention looked to copyright protect all works the moment they have been
created. The Convention was based on the idea of “right of author”
and “copyright”. The creators of the Convention believed once a work
was placed in a fixed form such as on a piece of paper, or a work was expressed
or declared, all the ownership would remain with the original creator.

Ownership
included any derivative work that came about from the original work. Protection
from the Berne Convention did not require any filing or paperwork to apply for
ownership. Only an expression of creation was needed to have full ownership of
a created work. The Berne Convention offered equal protection for all members
of any nation that signed on to agree to the Convention.

The United States initially did not want to join
the Berne Convention because it offered too much protection for creators of a
work. The United States did not like the way the Berne Convention did not
require mandatory registration of copyrights or copyright notice. The United
States believed the amount of protection offered would limit the number of new
creations that could be copyrighted.

Because the
United States and some other nations were not fond of the Berne Convention’s
policies, the Universal Copyright Convention was held in 1952. The United
States, Soviet Union and many Latin American countries joined the Universal
Copyright Convention. There were less copyright laws offered about issues, such
as the amount of time a copyright would remain copyrighted. They also preferred
having to fill out copyright forms rather than simply creating a work on a
tangible medium. The Berne Convention threatened to take away any copyrighted
material from a nation that joined the rival Universal Copyright Convention.

In 1989, the United States decided to join the
Berne Convention. The Universal Copyright Convention had almost no power
following the departure of the United States and the Convention was soon
dissolved. The Berne Convention would evolve into the United International
Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property and moved closer to the
United Nations.

The United
International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property would then
become the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The WIPO would then
become an organization within the United Nations. There are now 164 countries
that share copyright laws under what was once known as the Berne Convention.
The laws of the Berne Convention are now so widely accepted that it forces
non-members to accept its copyright laws regardless of their own copyright
agreements.

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