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Several international treaties encourage reasonably coherent protection of copyright from country to country. They set minimum standards of protection which each signatory country then implements within the bounds of its own copyright law.

Berne Convention

  • Oldest and most important treaty
  • Signed in 1886 (but has been revised many times since)
  • Ratified by nearly 180
  • Establishes minimum standards of protection
  • Types of works protected
  • Duration of protection
  • Scope of exceptions
  • Limitations
  • Principles such as “national treatment” (works originating in one signatory country are given the same protection in the other signatory countries as each grants to works of its own nationals)
  • Principles such as “automatic protection” (copyright inheres automatically in a qualifying work upon its fixation in a tangible medium and without any required prior formality).

WIPO Copyright Treaty

  • Signed in 1996
  • Makes clear that computer programs and databases are protected by copyright
  • Recognizes that the transmission of works over the Internet and similar networks is an exclusive right within the scope of copyright, originally held by the creator.
  • Categorizes as copyright infringements both
  • The circumvention of technological protection measures attached to works
  • The removal from a work of embedded rights management information.

The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

  • Signed in 1996
  • Signed in 1996
  • Administered by the World Trade Organization
  • Includes a number of provisions related to the enforcement of IP rights.
  • Says that national laws have to make the effective enforcement of IP rights possible, and describes in detail how enforcement should be addressed.

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