International copyright treaties
International copyright is based on national treatment: signatory countries of a treaty are obliged to grant copyright on foreign works according to their own national laws. In the field of "classic" copyright (or author's rights), three main treaties exist:
- The Berne Convention (BC) dates to 1886 and was amended several times. It defined the minimal rights of those who produced creative scientific, literary, and artistic works, prescribing a general minimum duration of copyright of 50 years p.m.a.
- The Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) was adopted in 1952 (and revised in 1971) as a less stringent alternative to the BC for countries who considered the BC too demanding. If a country signed both the UCC and the BC, the BC had precedence in dealings with other BC countries.
- The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) of 1996 became effective in 2002. It was an extension of the BC covering computer programs and databases.
In the field of neighbouring rights, two important treaties are:
- The Rome Convention of 1961 was the equivalent to the BC for performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasting institutions.
- The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) of 1996 entered in force in 2002. It was an update on the Rome Convention.
Additionally, the TRIPS agreement from 1994 defined minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights for WTO member countries.
First international copyright treaties were concluded in Spring 1861 with France and in July 1862 with Belgium. Both treaties provided for reciprocal copyright protection, but were limited to literature only; translation rights were not covered, and censorship was explicitly allowed. Both treaties were abrogated in 1887.
Under Western pressure, new treaties were concluded in 1904 with Germany, in 1905 with France, and in 1906 with Austria-Hungary. After the new copyright law of 1911 was passed, new or renewed treaties were concluded with Germany (1911), France (1911), Belgium (1913/14), and Denmark (1915). All these treaties provided for reciprocal copyright protection and also included the author's translation rights, which were protected for a period of ten years from the original publication of a work. These treaties were of short duration only and expired after three to five years. Tsarist Russia even planned to join the Berne Convention in the early 20th century, but that was, according to Stoyanovitch, prevented by the outbreak of World War I.
Read more about this topic: International Copyright Relations Of Russia
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