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Gillian Davies

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Gillian Davies

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Gillian Davies

In October 2011, the Rome Convention for the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its adoption at Rome on 26 October 1961. The occasion was marked by a series of Conferences which took place in Budapest, Copenhagen and London to mark the influence that the Convention has had on the development of the law of copyright and related rights in the past half century, and to evaluate its continuing impact. In this article the author reflects on the origins, making and development of the rights protected under the Convention during this period and takes stock of its relationship to the Berne Convention and its influence on national and EU law, as well as international law in the context of the TRIPS Agreement and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

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Gillian Davies and Sam Ricketson

In this introductory chapter, Davies and Ricketson trace the origins of WIPO in the international bureaux established under the Paris and Berne Conventions and overseen by the Swiss Government. They highlight the steps by which discussions occurred on the establishment of a more permanent and free-standing intergovernmental organization to deal with intellectual property. The main proponent of this idea in the 1950s was Jacques Secretan, the Director of the United International Bureaux (BIRPI). This work was then carried to completion under the leadership of Georg Bodenhausen, Secretan’s successor, and by Arpad Bogsch, his deputy. The new organization was formally constituted under its own convention at the Stockholm Revision Conference in 1967.

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Gillian Davies and Sam Ricketson

Davies and Ricketson provide an overview of the achievements and failures of WIPO during the first 50 years of its existence, dividing this up in temporal terms by reference to the tenures of the four Directors General of WIPO to date: Bodenhausen, Bogsch, Idris and Gurry. While there have been notable successes, particularly in the procedural area (as exemplified by the ‘rivers of gold’ now flowing from the PCT), there have been some significant failures, such as the futile endeavours to revise the Paris Convention and to adopt a new convention on integrated circuits. In the same way, there have been significant achievements in the development of ‘soft law’ proposals, but the task of developing new international norms in the form of treaties has languished. On the other hand, WIPO has delivered substantial educational and technical assistance programmes, as well as pioneering alternative dispute resolution processes in the area of domain names, and is exploring new forms of public-private partnerships. Tensions between developed and developing countries remain, but WIPO has sought to respond to these with some sensitivity, and has shown a readiness to embrace the possibilities offered by new technologies