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International Copyright

History Of The Berne Convention, The United States And The Berne Convention, Protection Of Copyright In The Digital Age

The manner in which the exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute copies of various intellectual productions may be obtained in foreign countries.

International copyright protection can be secured in only two ways: (1) by obtaining separate and independent COPYRIGHT protection in each of the countries where such protection is sought, in compliance with the laws of each country; or (2) through international conventions or treaties that provide for the mutual recognition and protection of the literary and INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY of the citizens of the nations that are parties to such treaties or conventions. Citizens of the United States who seek copyright protection in foreign countries may sometimes avail themselves of the first method, sometimes the second, and sometimes neither, depending upon the laws of the countries in which the foreign copyrights issue.

In 1989, the United States for the first time became a signatory to the oldest and most widely approved international copyright treaty, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (828 U.N.T.S. 221, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-27). In doing so, the United States ended a long history of noncompliance with the Berne Convention, finally joining the vast majority of developed countries. As of the mid 1990s, 96 countries had signed the Berne Convention.

Among the works protected by the Berne Convention are books, pamphlets, and other printed materials; dramatic and dramaticomusical works and musical compositions; drawings and paintings; works of architecture, sculpture, engraving, and lithography; illustrations and geographic charts, plans, and sketches; translations, adaptations, arrangements of music, and collections of various works; and cinematographic and photographic works.

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