Thursday, November 12, 2009

What is the Berne Convention?

In the field of copyright law, people often see something called the "Berne Convention" written in guides regarding the law (including those posted on Cyber Law Facts), but don't know what it means. In case you were wondering, it's short for the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

The significance of the Berne Convention is that it's an international treaty, the parties to which have agreed to standardize their copyright laws to conform to some basic uniform standards. These standards include original works being copyrighted immediately upon creation, which eliminates the requirement for a person to register a copyright in order to protect their work.

They also include the lack of any requirement in member countries for copyright holders to mark their content with a warning that it is copyrighted in order for them to enforce that copyright.

Additionally, parties to the treaty agree that every foreign copyrighted work will be treated equally in the eyes of the law as a domestic copyrighted work, ensuring equality in the eyes of the law regardless of where someone originally copyrights their material.

The Berne Convention contains many more details, but these are some of the most important. If you have any questions, please feel to post them in the "Comments" section of this blog and I'll try to respond to them in a future post.

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