Copyright Overview


While patent law protects the novel and creative ideas of inventors, copyright law protects any original expressions of authors and writers even if the said expressions are spontaneous, artless, and has no level of creativity. With this slight overview, we can see how extensive rights that could easily be protected by copyright law.


The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the "Berne Convention", is an international copyright agreement composed of different countries thereby constituting a Union (Berne Union) for the protection of the rights of authors in their literary and artistic works. The Convention provides that copyright protection may not be conditioned on compliance with any formality, such as registration or deposit of copies. However, the basic elements of protection under the Berne Convention must be strictly observed in such a way that copyrights will be protected by requiring the signatories to honor and recognize the rights of all authors who are nationals of countries which are party to the Convention and that the laws of signatory States must provide the minimum levels of protection established by the Convention.


Another principal international convention for the protection of copyright is the "Universal Copyright Convention". It was created as an alternative to the Berne Convention for those states which are non-signatory to the Berne Convention but still wants to participate in some form of multilateral copyright protection. Some Berne Convention states also became party to the UCC so that their copyrights could be protected in states which are non-signatory to the Berne Convention.


The differences between Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention are with respect to duration of protection and formal requirements. As to duration of protection, the normal copyright protection mandated by the Berne Convention shall be during the lifetime of the author plus another 50 years from the time of death, subject to certain exceptions. On the other hand, the duration of copyright protection provided by the Universal Copyright Convention shall be during the lifetime of the author and not less than 25 years after the death of the author, subject to certain exceptions. With regard to formal requirements, the copyright protection under the Berne Convention does not depend on any formality, while the Universal Copyright Convention requires certain formalities as condition for copyright protection.


On the other hand, Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, otherwise known as "Rome Convention", was drafted in order to secure protection in performances of performers, phonograms of producers of phonograms and broadcasts of broadcasting organizations.


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