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 12: The right of reproduction

Jørgen Blomqvist

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


As the word 'copyright' already indicates, the protection against reproduction or making of copies is historically a core right for literary and artistic works. It is therefore noteworthy that explicit general rules in this respect were only included in the Berne Convention in its latest acts adopted in Stockholm and Paris in 1967 and 1971, respectively. In earlier acts, however, the right clearly was understood to apply, and it was reflected in some of the exceptions in the Convention, but the very description of minimum rights was not approached in a systematic way in the early acts. Since all countries having national copyright legislation protected against reproduction, national treatment was sufficient at the international level. It was supplemented with specific rules concerning reproduction in amended forms, including in particular adaptation, translation, making into an audiovisual work, and so on, but as technology developed an increasing number of minimum rights were added to the Convention. Thus it became an oddity that, in particular, the exclusive right of reproduction was missing. At the 1967 Stockholm conference the right was included in Article 9(1) of the Convention according to which '[a]uthors of literary and artistic works protected by this Convention shall have the exclusive right of authorizing the reproduction of these works in any manner or form'. It was deliberately given a broad and technology neutral wording, further clarified in paragraph (3) which states that '[a]ny sound or visual recording shall be considered as a reproduction for the purposes of this Convention'.

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