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WIPO Treaties

*WIPO Copyright Treaty*
This treaty, created in 1996, is a special agreement under the Berne Convention (see History of WIPO and International Copyright ). Any contracting party, even if not bound by the Berne Convention , must comply with the substantive provisions of the 1971 Paris Act of the Berne Convention for the Protection of the Literary and Artistic Works. The main mentions of this treaty are two subject matters that are to be protected by copyright.

  • Computer programs
    • Whatever may be the mode of their expression
  • Compilations of data or other material (“databases”)
    • In any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations. If a database does not constitute such a creation, it is outside the scope of this treaty.

The treaty deals with three rights for the authors of the copyrightable work including the following:

  • The right of distribution
  • The right to authorize the making available to the public of the original and copies of a work through sale or other transfer of ownership.
  • The right of rental
  • The right to authorize commercial rental to the public of the original and copies of three kinds of works:
    • Computer programs (except where the computer program itself is not the essential object of the rental).
    • Cinematographic works (but only in cases where the commercial rental has led to widespread copying of such works).
    • Works embodied in phonograms as determined in the national law of the contracting parties.
  • The right of communication to the public - or the right to authorize any communication to the public, by wire or wireless means, including “the making available to the public of works in a way that the members of the public may access the work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.” This covers on-demand and interactive communication through the internet.

The treaty also obliges the contracting parties to provide legal remedies against the circumvention of technological measures (e.g. encryption) used by performers or phonogram producers in connection with the exercise of their rights. The contracting party must ensure that enforcement procedures are available under its law so as to permit effective action against any act of infringement of rights covered by the treaty; this includes expeditious remedies to prevent infringement and remedies which constitute a deterrent to further infringements.

WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty
This treaty, also created in 1996, deals with intellectual property rights of two kinds of beneficiaries including performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc), and producers of phonograms (the persons or legal entities who or which take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of the sounds. These are dealt with in the same manner because most of the rights granted by the treaty to performers are rights connected with their purely aural performances which are subject matter of phonograms.
The performers are granted four kinds of economic rights in their performances fixed in phonograms, not in motion pictures. These include:

  • The right to reproduction- the right to authorize direct or indirect reproduction of the phonogram in any manner or form.
  • The right of distribution- the right to authorize the making available to the public of the original and copies of the phonogram through sale or other transfer of ownership.
  • The right of rental- the right to authorize the commercial rental to the public of the original and copies of the phonogram as determined by national law of the contracting parties.
  • The right of making available- the right to authorize the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, of any performance fixed in a phonogram, so that the public can access the fixed performance at any time they choose. This covers on-demand, interactive making available through the Internet.

This treaty also covers three additional rights that performers are granted in respect of their unfixed (live) performances including the right of broadcasting (except rebroadcasting), the right of communication to the public, and the right of fixation. Also included in this treaty is granting of moral rights for performers. This gives them the right to be identified as the performer and the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification to their performance.


Producers of phonograms are also given four kinds of rights in their phonograms including the right of reproduction, the right of distribution, the right of rental, and the right of making available. These are the same rights that the performer is given. In accordance with these rights both the performer and producer must oblige by the contracting party’s national laws. The treaty also provides that performers and producers of phonograms enjoy the right to a single equitable remuneration for the direct or indirect use of phonograms, published for commercial purpose; however any contracting party may restrict or deny this right.


The term of protection given to both performers and producers of phonograms is at least 50 years. The treaty also obliges the contracting parties to provide legal remedies against the circumvention of technological measures (e.g. encryption) used by performers or phonogram producers in connection with the exercise of their rights. The contracting party must ensure that enforcement procedures are available under its law so as to permit effective action against any act of infringement of rights covered by the treaty; this includes expeditious remedies to prevent infringement and remedies which constitute a deterrent to further infringements.

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