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Can I enforce my rights through the Berne Convention (1886)?

Can I enforce my rights through the Berne Convention (1886)?

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works concluded in 1886 and was amended in 1979. The Convention is open to all its member States. There are 179 parties to the convention, including India. Berne Convention Aims to protect the works and rights of the respective authors. The convention follows the principles stated below:

a. Principle of national treatment

Works made in one of the Contracting States are afforded the same level of security in all other Contracting States. They are to approach the work as if it were their own country.

b. Principle of automatic protection

Protection cannot be conditional upon compliance with any formality and gets right.

c. Principle of independent protection

Protection is independent as the protection in the country of origin of the work. There may be a situation where the work ceases to be protected in the country of origin. Then, protection will be denied by other contracting states. This happens when the protection in the country-of-origin ceases.

As per Article 2(1) of the Convention, protection includes every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain. It does not matter what the mode or form of its expression may be. It also includes exclusive rights. This includes authorization, subjected to certain allowed reservations. This also allows limitations, or exceptions like translations, adaptations, and arrangements, reproduction, etc.

According to the convention, the protection is granted for 50 years from the death of an author. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection is 50 years after the work has been lawfully made available to the public, except the author has not disclosed his identity. 

In the case of audiovisual or cinematographic works, after the availability of the work to the public, the minimum term of protection is 50 years. The minimum term of protection is 25 years from the date of creation of the work, in the case of works of applied art and photographic works.

1. Concept of “free uses” or fair use i.e., the protected work may be used without the authorization of the owner of the copyright, and without payment of compensation like reproduction, and use of works by way of illustration for education purposes, reproduction of newspaper or similar articles and use of works for the purpose of reporting current events, quotations, and recordings for broadcasting purposes.

2. Non-voluntary licenses for translation and reproduction of the work, the Convention permits developing countries to implement non-voluntary licenses for translation and reproduction of works in certain cases, like educational activities. In some instances, the copyrighted work is allowed to be used without authorization, in case of remuneration fixed by law.

In the countries where the Digital Millennium Copyright Act cannot be enforced, still we have a chance to enforce your copyright under the Berne Convention. It gives the author or/and the owner full protection despite the origin of the work.

For more information on enforcement, contact us.

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