|Berne Convention for the|
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Ratifications of the Convention as of 2012
|Signed||9 September 1886|
|Effective||5 December 1887|
|Condition||3 months after exchange of ratifications|
|Depositary||Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization|
|Languages||signed in French (prevailing in case of differences in interpretation) and English, officially translated in Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish|
| Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works at |
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an
The Berne Convention formally mandated several aspects of modern copyright law; it introduced the concept that a copyright exists the moment a work is "fixed", rather than requiring
The Berne Convention requires its parties to treat the copyright of works of authors from other parties to the convention (known as members of the Berne Union) at least as well as those of its own nationals. For example,
In addition to establishing a system of equal treatment that harmonised copyright amongst parties, the agreement also required member states to provide strong minimum standards for copyright law.
Copyright under the Berne Convention must be automatic; it is prohibited to require formal registration. However, when the United States joined the Convention on 1 March 1989, it continued to make
However, in Moberg v Leygues, a 2009 decision of a Delaware Federal District Court, decided that the protections of the Berne Convention are supposed to essentially be "frictionless," meaning no registration requirements can be imposed on a work from a different Berne member country. This means Berne member countries can require works originating in their own country to be registered and/or deposited, but cannot require these formalities of works from other Berne member countries.
Under Article 3, the protection of the Convention applies to nationals and residents of countries that are party to the convention, and to works first published or simultaneously published (under Article 3(4), "simultaneously" is defined as "within 30 days") in a country that is party to the convention. Under Article 4, it also applies to cinematic works by persons who have their headquarters or habitual residence in a party country, and to architectural works situated in a party country.
The Convention relies on the concept of "country of origin". Often determining the country of origin is straightforward: when a work is published in a party country and nowhere else, this is the country of origin. However, under Article 5(4), when a work is published simultaneously in several party countries (under Article 3(4), "simultaneously" is defined as "within 30 days"), the country with the
For works simultaneously published in a party country and one or more non-parties, the party country is the country of origin. For unpublished works or works first published in a non-party country (without publication within 30 days in a party country), the author's nationality usually provides the country of origin, if a national of a party country. (There are exceptions for cinematic and architectural works.)
In the Internet age, unrestricted publication online may be considered publication in every sufficiently internet-connected jurisdiction in the world. It is not clear what this may mean for determining "country of origin". In
The Berne Convention states that all works except photographic and cinematographic shall be copyrighted for at least 50 years after the author's death, but parties are free to provide longer
If the author is unknown, because for example the author was deliberately anonymous or worked under a pseudonym, the Convention provides for a term of 50 years after publication ("after the work has been lawfully made available to the public"). However, if the identity of the author becomes known, the copyright term for known authors (50 years after death) applies.
Although the Berne Convention states that the copyright law of the country where copyright is claimed shall be applied, Article 7(8) states that "unless the legislation of that country otherwise provides, the term shall not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the work", i.e., an author is normally not entitled a longer copyright abroad than at home, even if the laws abroad give a longer term. This is commonly known as "the
As to works, protection must include "every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever the mode or form of its expression" (Article 2(1) of the Convention).
Subject to certain allowed reservations, limitations or exceptions, the following are among the rights that must be recognized as exclusive rights of authorization:
The Berne Convention includes a number of specific copyright exceptions, scattered in several provisions due to the historical reason of Berne negotiations. For example, Article 10(2) permits Berne members to provide for a "teaching exception" within their copyright statutes. The exception is limited to a use for illustration of the subject matter taught and it must be related to teaching activities.
In addition to specific exceptions, the Berne Convention establishes the "
The Berne Convention does not expressly reference doctrines such as
The Berne Convention also fails to include Internet safe harbors, as is common in many countries. However, the Agreed Statement of the parties to the
Critics have argued for years that the Berne Convention is weak in protecting users and consumers from overbroad or harsh infringement claims, with virtually no other exceptions or limitations. In fact, the