There is no such thing as an international copyright protection that automatically protects your copyrighted work throughout the world. Whether and the extent a copyright of a U.S. citizen will be protected in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country and whether the United States has copyright relations with that country. Fortunately, the United States has copyright agreements in place with most countries that require each country to honor the other country’s citizens’ copyrights.
Imagine, you or one of your employees has created a work that is copyrightable subject matter; for example, a book, a computer program, a photograph, a song, or an architectural work. You want to make certain that you have the full range of protection available to you, both in the United States and abroad. In this article, we build on the intricacies of securing international patent protection and navigate the legal maze of international copyright protection.
Copyright is a form of legal protection given to content creators through the assignment of specific rights to works that qualify for protection.
Copyright provides a framework for relationships between the different players in the content industries, as well as for relationships between rightsholders and the consumers of content. Copyright is a form of Intellectual Property, along with trademarks and patents in all countries, and other creations (such as trade secrets, database rights, rights of publicity and the like) that may vary from country to country.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation.
Efforts in the European Union to harmonize copyright law have resulted in a number of regulations, including the 2001 Directive on Copyright in the Information Society.
The Directive on the harmonization of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society had two main objectives: reflect technological developments in copyright law in Europe and transpose into European law the provisions contained in the two WIPO treaties of 1996.
The Directive harmonized across European Union Member States the rights of reproduction, distribution and communication to the public, as well as the legal protection of technical protection measures and rights management systems. It also included an exhaustive list of limitations and exceptions to copyright, most of which are optional for the Member States to implement in their national laws.
Another important piece of European legislation is the 2004 Directive on Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, which was followed by the creation in 2009, of the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy.
Authors, artists, performers, architects, cooks and photographers are among those who rely upon copyrights to protect the fruits of their creative minds and talents.