WIPO Copyright Treaty
|World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty|
|Signed||20 December 1996|
|Effective||6 March 2002|
|Depositary||Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization|
|Languages||English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish|
|WIPO Copyright Treaty at Wikisource|
The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO Copyright Treaty or WCT) is an international treaty on copyright law adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright to respond to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it. As of August 2021, the treaty has 110 contracting parties. The WCT and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, are together termed WIPO "internet treaties".
During the earlier stages of negotiations, the WCT was seen as a protocol to the Berne Convention, constituting an update of that agreement since the 1971 Stockholm Conference. However, as any amendment to the Berne Convention required unanimous consent of all parties, the WCT was conceptualized as an additional treaty which supplemented the Berne Convention. The collapse of negotiations around the extension of the Berne Convention during the 1980s saw the shifting of the forum to the GATT, resulting in the TRIPS Agreement. Thus, the nature of any copyright treaty by the World Intellectual Property Organization became considerably narrower, being limited to addressing the challenges posed by digital technologies.
Protection granted by the Treaty
The WCT emphasizes the incentive nature of copyright protection, claiming its importance to creative endeavours. It ensures that computer programs are protected as literary works (Article 4), and that the arrangement and selection of material in databases is protected (Article 5). It provides authors of works with control over their rental and distribution in Articles 6 to 8, which they may not have under the Berne Convention alone. It also prohibits circumvention of technological measures for the protection of works (Article 11) and unauthorized modification of rights management information contained in works (Article 12).
The treaty has been criticised for being too broad (for example in its prohibition of circumvention of technical protection measures, even where such circumvention is used in the pursuit of legal and fair use rights) and for applying a "one size fits all" standard to all signatory countries, despite their widely differing stages of economic development and knowledge industry.
The WIPO Copyright Treaty is implemented in United States law by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By Decision 2000/278/EC of 16 March 2000, the Council of the European Union approved the treaty on behalf of the European Community. European Union Directives which largely cover the subject matter of the treaty are: Directive 91/250/EC, creating copyright protection for software; Directive 96/9/EC on copyright protection for databases; and Directive 2001/29/EC, prohibiting devices for circumventing "technical protection measures", such as digital rights management (also known as DRM).
- List of parties to international copyright agreements
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs)
- Software patents under TRIPs Agreement
- WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)
- Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
- "WIPO Lex". wipolex.wipo.int.
- "Contracting Parties > WIPO Copyright Treaty- contracting parties". World Intellectual Property Organization. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Contracting Parties > WIPO Copyright Treaty". World Intellectual Property Organization. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
- Julie S Sheinblatt, 'The WIPO Copyright Treaty' (1998) 13 (1) Berkeley Technology Law Journal 535 <https://dx.doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15779/Z383X1Q>
- "WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)". www.wipo.int. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
- Mihaly Ficsor, 'Copyright for the Digital Era: the WIPO Internet Treaties' (1997) 21 Columbia-VLA Journal for the Law and the Arts 197
- Mort SA, 'The WTO, WIPO & the Internet: Confounding the Borders of Copyright and Neighboring Rights' (1997–98) 8 Fordham Intell Prop Media & Ent LJ 173.
- 'The New WIPO Copyright and Phonograms Treaties: Steps Toward Harmonized Protection for the Digital Age | Publications and Presentations' (Arnold & Porter, 1 October 1996) <https://www.arnoldporter.com/en/perspectives/publications/1996/10/the-new-wipo-copyright-and-phonograms-treaties-s__?keyword=> Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- Sapp HA, 'North American Anti-Circumvention: Implementation of the WIPO Internet Treaties in the United States, Mexico and Canada.' (2005) 10(1) Computer L Rev & Tech J 1, at 7
- Peter Drahos, John Braithwaite, Information Feudalism: Who owns the knowledge economy 112 (Earthscan Publications: 2002)
- The full text of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (adopted in Geneva on December 20, 1996) (in English) in the WIPO Lex database – official website of WIPO.