The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on November 20, 1989 and which came into force on September 2, 1990, sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children, who are generally defined as being under the age of 18.
Two optional protocols were adopted on May 25, 2000, the second of which prohibits the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both protocols have been ratified by more than 120 states.
States which ratify the convention are bound by international law; compliance is monitored by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, to which states report periodically.
Year of Implementation: 1990
The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse constitutes the highest international standard for protecting children against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and is the first to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences. It is said to be filling the gaps in European legislation and harmonising the legal framework.
The Convention (Article 20) requires parties to criminalise the following acts: producing child pornography, offering or making available child pornography, distributing or transmitting child pornography, procuring child pornography for oneself or for another person, possessing child pornography, and knowingly obtaining access, through information and communication technologies, to child pornography.
The Convention was adopted and opened for signature in July 2007, on the occasion of the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote, Spain. It came into force on July 1, 2010.
Year of Implementation: 2010
The Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention is the first international treaty that addresses computer and Internet crimes, which include illegal access and illegal interception, computer misuse, computer-related forgery and fraud, child pornography and infringements of intellectual property rights.
The Convention has been described by Council of Europe as the only binding international treaty on the subject to have been adopted to date, and which lays down guidelines for all governments wishing to develop legislation against cybercrime.
The Convention was drawn up by the Council of Europe; it was opened for signature on November 23, 2001 and entered into force on July 1, 2004. An Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime came into force on March 1, 2006, also criminalising the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems, and racist and xenophobic-motivated threats and insults.
In relation to child pornography, Article 9 requires that: Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law, when committed intentionally and without right, the following conduct:
a. producing child pornography for the purpose of its distribution through a computer system;
b. offering or making available child pornography through a computer system;
c. distributing or transmitting child pornography through a computer system;
d. procuring child pornography through a computer system for oneself or for another person;
e. possessing child pornography in a computer system or on a computer-data storage medium.
Year of Implementation: 2001
The World Intellectual Property Organisation Performances and Phonograms Treaty, also known as the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, adopted in Geneva in December 1996, deals with intellectual property rights of performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc), and producers of phonograms (the persons or legal entities who or which take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of the sounds).
The Treaty entered into force on May 20, 2002.
Year of Implementation: 2002
The 1961 Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations, known as the Rome Convention, is a response to new technologies that made easier reproduction of sounds and images at a much lower cost. The Convention seeks to protect performers and producers of recordings under copyright.
Link: Rome Convention
Year of Implementation: 1961
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, also known as the Berne Convention, covers three main principles: the principles of ‘national treatment’, ‘automatic’ protection and ‘independence’ of copyright protection.
The convention protects work from “every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression” (Article 2(1)).
A total of 164 contracting parties make up the Berne Convention which was concluded in 1886, revised in 1896 in Paris and in 1908 in Berlin, completed in 1914 in Berne, revised in 1928 in Rome, in 1948 in Brussels, in 1967 in Stockholm and in 1971 in Paris. It was amended in 1979.
The Berne Convention is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and is open to all States.
Link: Berne Convention
year of Implementation: 1979
The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), administered by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), covers the following areas: copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, the layout-designs of integrated circuits, and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.
The TRIPS Agreement was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.
In 2001, a round of talks led to the Doha Declaration, which clarifies the scope of TRIPS, stating, for example, that TRIPS can and should be interpreted in light of the objective “to promote access to medicines for all”.
The TRIPS Agreement requires WTO member countries to comply with the substantive obligations of WIPO’s main conventions, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, in their most recent versions. With the exception of the provisions of the Berne Convention on moral rights, all the substantive provisions of these conventions are incorporated by reference, which therefore become obligations for WTO member states under TRIPS. This is why it is often described as the “Berne and Paris-plus” Agreement.
In addition, the TRIPS Agreement requires WTO members to protect integrated circuit layout designs in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (IPIC Treaty), and makes reference to provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (Rome Convention).
Link: World Trade Organisation
Year of Implementation: 1994