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Copyright protection in foreign countries

Copyright Protection in Foreign Countries

   

The Berne Convention is an international treaty that provides copyright protection to authors around the world.  This treaty provides protection for authors in all countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention from the moment a work is fixed in a tangible medium.  There are more than one hundred (100) countries that are members of the treaty. Although there are basic principals and minimum standards set forth in the treaty, the full extent of copyright protection that an author receives in each country depends on the copyright laws of the individual countries.  For example, the length of copyright protection varies between States, with the minimum in any country pursuant to the Berne Convention being life of the author plus fifty (50) years.   

The Berne Convention contains three basic principals to protect copyright owners. The first principal is that any work that originates in one of the contracting States (ie: the author is a citizen of that State or the work is first published in the State) must be granted the same protection in each of the other contracting States as that State grants to the works of its own citizens.  The second principal of the Convention is that copyright protection provided by each State must not be conditioned upon compliance with any formality.  Therefore, things such as registration requirements are prohibited by the Convention.  The third principal is that protection in all other States is independent of any protection provided in the country of origin. 

There are certain minimum standards that each member of the Berne Convention must provide to a copyright owner.   First, protection must be provided to “every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression” (Article 2(1) of the Convention).   Second, the Convention requires that the following rights be recognized as exclusive rights of the author:  a) the right to translate, b) the right to make adaptations and arrangements of the work, c)the right to perform in public dramatic, dramatico-musical and musical works, d) the right to recite in public literary works, e)the right to communicate to the public the performance of such works, f) the right to broadcast, g)the right to make reproductions in any manner or form, h)the right to use the work as a basis for an audiovisual work, and the right to reproduce, distribute, perform in public or communicate to the public that audiovisual work.

The Convention also provides for “moral rights,” that is, the right to claim authorship of the work and the right to object to any mutilation or deformation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the work which would be prejudicial to the author’s honor or reputation. 

As stated above, the Berne Convention prohibits countries from requiring registration, or any other formal procedure, by an author in order to obtain copyright protection.  Therefore, most countries have no formal registration process at all.  The United States requires registration as a prerequisite to filing suit or receiving certain statutory damages, but such registration is not required for copyright protection itself.   Like the United States, Canada does have a registration process.  The benefit of registration in Canada is that registration provides prima facie evidence of copyright ownership.   But, registration is not the only way an author can prove ownership.  Proving ownership of copyright can be as simple as showing previous drafts of the work and records of the creation of the work.


A list of countries who are parties to the Berne Convention:

Contracting Party

Date Became a member

Albania

March 6, 1994

Algeria

April 19, 1998

Andorra

June 2, 2004

Antigua and Barbuda

March 17, 2000

Argentina

June 10, 1967

Armenia

October 19, 2000

Australia

April 14, 1928

Austria

October 1, 1920

Azerbaijan

June 4, 1999

Bahamas

July 10, 1973

Bahrain

March 2, 1997

Bangladesh

May 4, 1999

Barbados

July 30, 1983

Belarus

December 12, 1997

Belgium

December 5, 1887

Belize

June 17, 2000

Benin

January 3, 1961

Bhutan

November 25, 2004

Bolivia

November 4, 1993

Bosnia and Herzegovina

March 1, 1992

Botswana

April 15, 1998

Brazil

February 9, 1922

Brunei Darussalam

August 30, 2006

Bulgaria

December 5, 1921

Burkina Faso

August 19, 1963

Cameroon

September 21, 1964

Canada

April 10, 1928

Cape Verde

July 7, 1997

Central African Republic

September 3, 1977

Chad

November 25, 1971

Chile

June 5, 1970

China

October 15, 1992

Colombia

March 7, 1988

Comoros

April 17, 2005

Congo

May 8, 1962

Costa Rica

June 10, 1978

Côte d'Ivoire

January 1, 1962

Croatia

October 8, 1991

Cuba

February 20, 1997

Cyprus

February 24, 1964

Czech Republic

January 1, 1993

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

April 28, 2003

Democratic Republic of the Congo

October 8, 1963

Denmark

July 1, 1903

Djibouti

May 13, 2002

Dominica

August 7, 1999

Dominican Republic

December 24, 1997

Ecuador

October 9, 1991

Egypt

June 7, 1977

El Salvador

February 19, 1994

Equatorial Guinea

June 26, 1997

Estonia

October 26, 1994

Fiji

December 1, 1971

Finland

April 1, 1928

France

December 5, 1887

Gabon

March 26, 1962

Gambia

March 7, 1993

Georgia

May 16, 1995

Germany

December 5, 1887

Ghana

October 11, 1991

Greece

November 9, 1920

Grenada

September 22, 1998

Guatemala

July 28, 1997

Guinea

November 20, 1980

Guinea-Bissau

July 22, 1991

Guyana

October 25, 1994

Haiti

January 11, 1996

Holy See

September 12, 1935

Honduras

January 25, 1990

Hungary

February 14, 1922

Iceland

September 7, 1947

India

April 1, 1928

Indonesia

September 5, 1997

Ireland

October 5, 1927

Israel

March 24, 1950

Italy

December 5, 1887

Jamaica

January 1, 1994

Japan

July 15, 1899

Jordan

July 28, 1999

Kazakhstan

April 12, 1999

Kenya

June 11, 1993

Kyrgyzstan

July 8, 1999

Latvia

August 11, 1995

Lebanon

September 30, 1947

Lesotho

September 28, 1989

Liberia

March 8, 1989

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

September 28, 1976

Liechtenstein

July 30, 1931

Lithuania

December 14, 1994

Luxembourg

June 20, 1888

Madagascar

January 1, 1966

Malawi

October 12, 1991

Malaysia

October 1, 1990

Mali

March 19, 1962

Malta

September 21, 1964

Mauritania

February 6, 1973

Mauritius

May 10, 1989

Mexico

June 11, 1967

Micronesia (Federated States of)

October 7, 2003

Moldova

November 2, 1995

Monaco

May 30, 1889

Mongolia

March 12, 1998

Montenegro

June 3, 2006

Morocco

June 16, 1917

Namibia

March 21, 1990

Nepal

January 11, 2006

Netherlands

November 1, 1912

New Zealand

April 24, 1928

Nicaragua

August 23, 2000

Niger

May 2, 1962

Nigeria

September 14, 1993

Norway

April 13, 1896

Oman

July 14, 1999

Pakistan

July 5, 1948

Panama

June 8, 1996

Paraguay

January 2, 1992

Peru

August 20, 1988

Philippines

August 1, 1951

Poland

January 28, 1920

Portugal

March 29, 1911

Qatar

July 5, 2000

Republic of Korea

August 21, 1996

Romania

January 1, 1927

Russian Federation

March 13, 1995

Rwanda

March 1, 1984

Saint Kitts and Nevis

April 9, 1995

Saint Lucia

August 24, 1993

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

August 29, 1995

Samoa

July 21, 2006

Saudi Arabia

March 11, 2004

Senegal

August 25, 1962

Serbia

April 27, 1992

Singapore

December 21, 1998

Slovakia

January 1, 1993

Slovenia

June 25, 1991

South Africa

October 3, 1928

Spain

December 5, 1887

Sri Lanka

July 20, 1959

Sudan

December 28, 2000

Suriname

February 23, 1977

Swaziland

December 14, 1998

Sweden

August 1, 1904

Switzerland

December 5, 1887

Syrian Arab Republic

June 11, 2004

Tajikistan

March 9, 2000

Thailand

July 17, 1931

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

September 8, 1991

Togo

April 30, 1975

Tonga

June 14, 2001

Trinidad and Tobago

August 16, 1988

Tunisia

December 5, 1887

Turkey

January 1, 1952

Ukraine

October 25, 1995

United Arab Emirates

July 14, 2004

United Kingdom

December 5, 1887

United Republic of Tanzania

July 25, 1994

United States of America

March 1, 1989

Uruguay

July 10, 1967

Uzbekistan

April 19, 2005

Venezuela

December 30, 1982

Viet Nam

October 26, 2004

Zambia

January 2, 1992

Zimbabwe

April 18, 1980



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