In the European Union, Directive 2001/29/EC on the Harmonisation of Certain Aspects of Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society is a countermeasure to technological developments that pose a threat to copyright and related rights.
Its main goals are to adapt legislation on these issues and transpose into Community law the chief international obligations occurring from the two treaties on copyright and related rights adopted within the framework of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 1996. It is a fundamental element for the Information Society, which is why it is often known as the InfoSoc Directive.
Link: Copyright and related rights
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 World Intellectual Property Organisation Copyright Treaty, also known as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, adopted in 1996, provides additional copyright protection in view of the advances in Information Technology.
Among other provisions, the Treaty protects computer programs (Article 4) and the arrangement and selection of material in databases (Article 5).
Link: WIPO copyright treaty
Year of Implementation: 1996
The Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits, also known as the Washington Treaty and the IPIC Treaty, was adopted in 1989 but has not yet come into force. It has however been partially integrated in the TRIPS Agreement.
The Treaty is open to WIPO members states and to intergovernmental organisations that meet certain criteria.
Link: Washington Treaty
Year of Implementation: 1989
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, also known as the Paris Convention, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), applies to industrial property in the widest sense, including patents, marks, industrial designs, utility models, trade names, geographical indications, and the repression of unfair competition.
The Paris Convention was concluded in 1883. It was revised 1900 in Brussels, in 1911 in Washington, in 1925 at The Hague, in 1934 in London, in 1958 in Lisbon and in 1967 in Stockholm. It was amended in 1979.
Link: Paris Treaty
Year of Implementation: 1979
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