Berne Convention

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (popularly called Berne Convention) is an international agreement on protection of copyrights. The convention was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland in the year 1886.

The Berne Convention has influenced several aspects of modern copyright law. For instance, it introduced the concept that a copyright exists the moment intellectual work has come into existence. The convention also requires that countries recognize copyrights held by the citizens of all other parties to the convention. As of February 2018, there are 176 parties, including India, to the Berne Convention.

WIPO Copyright Treaty
The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is related with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment. It is a special agreement under the Berne Convention. WIPO Copyright Treaty protects two kinds of subjects by copyright:

  1. computer programs, and
  2. compilation of data or other material (“databases”).

WIPO Copyright Treaty was signed in 1996 and came into force in 2002. As of July 2018, there are 96 contracting parties, including European Union, to the treaty. India is not a party WIPO Copyright Treaty. The cabinet of India has approved accession to the treaty. In near future, India is expected to be member of this treaty.

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries (i) performers (actors, singers, musicians etc.) and (ii) producers of phonograms (sound recordings) particularly in the digital environment.

As far as performers are concerned, the Treaty grants performers economic rights and moral rights, that is, the right to be identified as the performer and the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that would be prejudicial to the performer’s reputation.

As far as producers of phonograms are concerned, the Treaty grants them economic rights in their phonograms: (i) the right of reproduction; (ii) the right of distribution; (iii) the right of rental; and (iv) the right of making available. Thus, the treaty also empowers the producers in their negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors.

WPPT was signed in 1996 and came into force in 2002. As of July 2018, there are 96 contracting parties, including European Union, to the treaty. India is not a party WPPT. The cabinet of India has approved accession to the treaty. In near future, India is expected to be member of this treaty.

The WCT and WPPT are together termed WIPO “internet treaties”.

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