Primer on International Copyright and Related Rights

Primer on International Copyright and Related Rights

Jørgen Blomqvist

The international law on copyright and related rights is comprehensive and complex, spanning over a large number of different treaties which have been compiled and amended over more than 125 years. This book gives a concise, but comprehensive introduction to the rules and their rationales. Its rights-oriented approach makes it equally valuable to the student and the practitioner who needs both an introduction to and overview over the international law in the field. The book explains all treaties relevant today, from the 1886 Berne Convention to the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty of 2013.

Chapter 4: The relations among the international instruments

Jørgen Blomqvist

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


The international conventions, treaties and agreements in the field of copyright and related rights have been adopted over a very long period of time, and it may be useful for the understanding of the relations among them to note that when the Berne Convention was adopted in 1886, it did not rule out the emergence of additional agreements in the future. Article 15 (now Article 20 in the Paris Act) provided that '[t]he Governments of the countries of the Union reserve the right to enter into special agreements among themselves, in so far as such agreements grant to authors more extensive rights than those granted by the Convention, or contain other provisions not contrary to this Convention'. This provision does not establish a categorical prohibition against international agreements with a lower level of protection than the Berne Convention, but it rules out that, for example, a group of Union countries could agree that amongst themselves they will constitute a 'safe haven' in which a lower level of mutual protection applies. Union countries, on the other hand, may well enter into agreements with third countries entailing lower protection requirements than the Convention, and several Union countries may join such agreements, as long as they maintain the Berne level of protection among themselves. In 1951 this situation emerged through the adoption of the UCC which had a double purpose.

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