Primer on International Copyright and Related Rights
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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.
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Chapter 18: Limitations and exceptions

Jørgen Blomqvist


Since its very first incarnation in the 1886 Berne Act, the Berne Convention has permitted limitations to and exceptions from the protection of literary and artistic works, and from the beginning this was seen as a normal and natural thing, just as it was under national legislation. Numa Droz, the Swiss president of the diplomatic conference which prepared and finally adopted the Convention in its original Berne Act, stated in his closing speech to the 1884 conference that 'limitations on absolute protection are dictated, rightly in my opinion, by the public interest'. All later international instruments in the field contain such provisions as well, at times even in a broader and less restrictive form than the Berne Convention. In the general debate on the subject, as it is conducted, for example, at WIPO, a distinction is sometimes made between limitations (which are seen as exclusions from the rights granted, such as the possibility of quoting in accordance with good practice or making a single copy for private study or research), and exceptions (which are seen as exclusions from the protected subject matter, such as the possibility of abstaining from protecting statutes, court decisions and other official texts). More commonly, however, the terms are used interchangeably and/or together with no apparent distinction. If, however, one adopts the said terminology, what it refers to as exceptions are discussed in Chapter 10 in connection with the discussion of the object of protection of the various instruments, and the present Chapter deals with the limitations.

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