International Copyright Conventions

International Copyright Conventions

 

multilateral international agreements establishing the obligations of countries with respect to the copyright protection of works belonging to citizens of other member countries or works first published in these countries. The most important international copyright conventions are the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886 and the Universal (Geneva) Copyright Convention of 1952, which took effect in 1955; 64 nations are parties to the Universal Copyright Convention, including Hungary, Cuba, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The USSR became a member of the convention (1952 text) on May 27, 1973.

Developed under the auspices of UNESCO, the Universal Copyright Convention seeks to ensure respect for the rights of the individual, to foster the development of literature, science, and art, and to promote the exchange of cultural values and better international understanding. It applies to written, musical, dramatic, and cinematographic works and to paintings, prints, and sculpture. The member countries grant the same protection they accord domestic works to the works of citizens of the other member countries (irrespective of place of publication) and to works first published in any other member country, regardless of the citizenship of the authors. Under the convention, the countries are obliged to ensure exclusive right of translation and protection of a work for not less than 25 years after the death of the author and to take the necessary steps to guarantee sufficient and effective copyright protection for authors and other copyright proprietors. If the legislation of one of the member countries requires the observance of copyright formalities (as, for example, in the USA), then these requirements are deemed fulfilled if every copy of a work bears the symbol © with the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication.

In the USSR works first published abroad after May 27, 1973, are subject to protection under the provisions of the Geneva Convention; the convention does not apply to works published before this date.

The Bern Convention of 1886 was revised in 1908 (Berlin), 1928 (Rome), 1948 (Brussels), 1967 (Stockholm), and 1971 (Paris). As of Jan. 1, 1973, 63 countries were parties to the convention, of which 46 adhered to the 1948 text of the convention. The USSR is not a member of the Bern Convention. The 39 countries that are members of both the Bern and the Geneva conventions apply only the Bern Convention among themselves. The members of the Bern Convention belong to the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, known as the Bern Union, whose administrative functions are performed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The member states of the international conventions may also conclude bilateral copyright protection agreements among themselves. The USSR has such agreements with Hungary (effective Jan. 1, 1968) and Bulgaria (effective Jan, 1, 1972). Under these agreements, each party recognizes the copyrights of citizens of the other country for works first published in the other country and grants these works the same protection that it accords the works of its own citizens.

I. A. GRINGOL’TS

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