National origin focuses on protecting creators of original work that are members of a country belonging to a copyright treaty party. Original works can easily travel, be viewed, or expressed beyond the country from which they originated. Treaties have been created so that foreign nations can share their created work without having to worry if their work will be stolen and accredited to another party.
Countries that are members of a copyright treaty will be protected by the laws of that treaty. National origin does not play any role in differentiating laws between countries under the same treaty. A foreign nation that is a member of a separate treaty party will not be protected under the rights of another. National origin treaties offer protection to published and unpublished works created by people residing or creating a work while in a country protected by a copyright treaty.
President Woodrow Wilson decided the United States would join the Buenos Aires Convention. From there, the United States would later join the Universal Copyright Convention. This was because the widely used Berne Convention laws gave too much protection to creators of original work. Wilson did not believe copyrights should be granted without having to file paperwork and give notice of the copyright, an accepted practice in the Berne Convention.
In 1989 the United States would leave the Universal Copyright Convention for the protection of the Berne Convention. The departure of the United States from the Universal Copyright Convention led to an end of that organization. The Berne Convention would later evolve into the World International Property Organization, an organization within the United Nations. The different copyright treaties help determine what the rules for copyright are depending on one’s national origin.
Unpublished and published works are protected based on national origin. If a member or the United States or another foreign national belonging to the same treaty party create a work on a fixed tangible medium, that work is immediately copyrighted.
An unpublished work that is expressed on a medium is copyrighted according to the Berne Convention or World International Property Organization. No paperwork or applications need to be filled out for the created work to be copyrighted. It is not necessary to sell or share the original work either. Work that is published is protected if one of these things occur:
The work was created by a member of the United States or a treaty party member of the same copyright laws.
The work was created by a stateless person.
A picture, graphic, or sculpture is embedded in a building or surface belonging to a nation that is part of a copyright treaty party.
A sound is recorded on a phonogram in a copyright protected country.
A performance is performed after being created in a protected country.
Original work created by the United Nations is protected under the World International Property Organization laws. Also, a president may extend or take away copyright protection from non-treaty nations that offer or do not offer protection to members of the World International Property Organization.
The Berne Convention had a lasting effect on copyright treaties and laws. After being held in 1886, the Berne Convention now consists of 164 nations. The Berne Convention is known for offering the most protection to creators of original works. The Berne Convention stated any work that is placed on a tangible medium is protected under its copyright laws. No filing or paperwork is necessary to copyright under the Berne Convention.
Nations that agreed to sign on as members of the convention were offered the protection of the Berne Convention regardless of that person’s national origin. When the United Stated decided to join the Berne Convention in 1989, the Universal Copyright Convention grew too weak to survive.
The Berne Convention has evolved into the World International Property Organization. The power of the organization is so great that non-members often have to abide by the rules of the original Berne Convention, now referred to as the World International Property Organization (WIPO).
With technology advancing, new laws had to be set in place regarding sound creations. The Performances and Phonograms Treaty was created by the World International Property Organization in 1996. It stated that any performance given or audio produced onto a phonogram was protected by copyright.
Under WIPO, performers are entitled to all economic benefits resulting from their original work. They are also entitled to make decisions regarding commercial usage and rentals. Any usage of someone else’s work must be identified as that person’s work.
Once a sale of a phonogram is made, the performer cannot control what happens to the copy of their original work. The Performances and Phonograms Treaty only concerns audio and performances. No literary work is protected under the Agreement.