International Intellectual Property Treaties | Part – 1

WIPO-Administered Treaties

 

Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances:

The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, which took place in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012. The Treaty deals with the intellectual property rights of performers in audiovisual performances.

 

It grants performers four kinds of economic rights for their performances fixed in audiovisual fixations, such as motion pictures:

(i) the right of reproduction;

(ii) the right of distribution;

(iii) the right of rental; and

(iv) the right of making available.

 

The right of reproduction is the right to authorize director or indirect reproduction of the performance fixed in an audiovisual fixation in any manner or form.

The right of distribution is the right to authorize the making available to the public of the original and copies of the performance fixed in an audiovisual fixation through sale or other transfer of ownership.

The right of rental is the right to authorize the commercial rental to the public of the original and copies of the performance fixed in an audiovisual fixation.

The right of making available is the right to authorize the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, of any performance fixed in an audiovisual fixation, in such a way that members of the public may access the fixed performance from a place and at a time individually chosen by them. This right covers, in particular, on-demand, interactive making available through the Internet. As to unfixed (live) performances, the Treaty grants performers three kinds of economic rights:

(i) the right of broadcasting (except in the case of rebroadcasting);

(ii) the right of communication to the public (except where the performance is a broadcast performance); and

(iii) the right of fixation.

The Treaty also grants performers moral rights, that is, the right to claim to be identified as the performer (except where such an omission would be dictated by the manner of the use of the performance); and the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that would be prejudicial to the performer’s reputation, taking into account the nature of the audiovisual fixations.

 

The Treaty provides that performers shall enjoy the right to authorize the broadcasting and communication to the public of their performances fixed in audiovisual fixations. However, Contracting Parties may notify that instead of the right of authorization, they will establish a right to equitable remuneration for the direct or indirect use of performances fixed in audiovisual fixations for broadcasting or communication to the public. Any Contracting Party may restrict or – provided that it makes a reservation to the Treaty – deny this right. In the case and to the extent of a reservation by a Contracting Party, the other Contracting Parties are permitted to deny, vis-à-vis the reserving Contracting Party, national treatment (“reciprocity”).

 

As to the transfer of rights, the Treaty provides that Contracting Parties may stipulate in their national laws that once a performer has consented to the audiovisual fixation of a performance, the exclusive rights mentioned above are transferred to the producer of the audiovisual fixation (unless a contract between the performer and producer states otherwise). Independent of such a transfer of rights, national laws or individual, collective or other agreements may provide the performer with the right to receive royalties or equitable remuneration for any use of the performance, as provided for under the Treaty.

 

As to limitations and exceptions, Article 13 of the Beijing Treaty incorporates the so-called “three-step” test to determine limitations and exceptions, as provided for in Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention, extending its application to all rights. The accompanying Agreed Statement provides that the Agreed Statement of Article 10 of the WCT applies similarly to the Beijing Treaty, that is, that such limitations and exceptions as established in national law in compliance with the Berne Convention may be extended to the digital environment. Contracting States may devise new exceptions and limitations appropriate to the digital environment. The extension of existing or the creation of new limitations and exceptions is allowed if the conditions of the “three-step” test are met.

 

The term of protection must be at least 50 years.

 

The enjoyment and exercise of the rights provided for in the Treaty cannot be subject to any formality.

 

The Treaty obliges Contracting Parties to provide for legal remedies against the circumvention of technological measures (e.g., encryption) used by performers in connection with the exercise of their rights, and against the removal or altering of information – such as the indication of certain data that identify the performer, performance and the audiovisual fixation itself – necessary for the management (e.g., licensing, collecting and distribution of royalties) of the said rights (“rights management information”).

 

An Agreed Statement related to the interplay between technological measures and limitations and exceptions clarifies that nothing prevents a Contracting Party from adopting effective and necessary measures to ensure that a beneficiary may enjoy limitations and exceptions, where technological measures have been applied to an audiovisual performance and the beneficiary has legal access to that performance. The above effective and necessary measures may be needed only where appropriate and effective measures have not been taken by rights holders in relation to that performance to enable the beneficiary to enjoy the limitations and exceptions under that Contracting Party’s national law. Without prejudice to the legal protection of an audiovisual work in which a performance is fixed, the obligations concerning technological measures of protection are not applicable to performances unprotected or no longer protected under the national law giving effect to the Treaty.

 

Contracting Parties shall accord protection under this Treaty to fixed performances that exist at the time of entry into force of the Treaty and to all performances made after its entry into force for each Contracting Party. However, a Contracting Party may declare that it will not apply the provisions concerning some or all of the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, rental, making available of fixed performances, and broadcasting and communication to the public in respect of performances that existed at the time of the entry into force of this Treaty in each Contracting Party. Other Contracting Parties may then reciprocally limit the application of these rights in relation to that Contracting Party.

 

The Treaty obliges each Contracting Party to adopt, in accordance with its legal system, the measures necessary to ensure the application of the Treaty. In particular, each 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. Such action must include expeditious remedies to prevent infringement as well as remedies that constitute a deterrent to further infringement.

 

The Treaty establishes an Assembly of the Contracting Parties whose main task is to address matters concerning the maintenance and development of the Treaty. It entrusts to the Secretariat of WIPO the administrative tasks concerning the Treaty.

 

The Beijing Treaty will enter into force three months after 30 eligible parties have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession. The Treaty is open to States members of WIPO and to the European Community. The Assembly constituted by the Treaty may decide to admit other intergovernmental organizations to become party to the Treaty. Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

 

Berne Convention:

The Berne Convention, adopted in 1886, deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors. It provides creators such as authors, musicians, poets, painters etc. with the means to control how their works are used, by whom, and on what terms. It is based on three basic principles and contains a series of provisions determining the minimum protection to be granted, as well as special provisions available to developing countries that want to make use of them.

 

The Berne Convention deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors. It is based on three basic principles and contains a series of provisions determining the minimum protection to be granted, as well as special provisions available to developing countries that want to make use of them.

 

(1) The three basic principles are the following:

 

(a) Works originating in one of the Contracting States (that is, works the author of which is a national of such a State or works first published in such a State) must be given the same protection in each of the other Contracting States as the latter grants to the works of its own nationals (principle of “national treatment”).

 

(b) Protection must not be conditional upon compliance with any formality (principle of “automatic” protection).

 

(c) Protection is independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work (principle of “independence” of protection). If, however, a Contracting State provides for a longer term of protection than the minimum prescribed by the Convention and the work ceases to be protected in the country of origin, protection may be denied once protection in the country of origin ceases.

 

(2) The minimum standards of protection relate to the works and rights to be protected, and to the duration of protection:

 

(a) As to works, protection must include “every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever the mode or form of its expression” (Article 2(1) of the Convention).

 

(b) Subject to certain allowed reservations, limitations or exceptions, the following are among the rights that must be recognized as exclusive rights of authorization:

the right to translate,

the right to make adaptations and arrangements of the work,

the right to perform in public dramatic, dramatico-musical and musical works,

the right to recite literary works in public,

the right to communicate to the public the performance of such works,

the right to broadcast (with the possibility that a Contracting State may provide for a mere right to equitable remuneration instead of a right of authorization),

the right to make reproductions in any manner or form (with the possibility that a Contracting State may permit, in certain special cases, reproduction without authorization, provided that the reproduction does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author; and the possibility that a Contracting State may provide, in the case of sound recordings of musical works, for a right to equitable remuneration), the right to use the work as a basis for an audiovisual work, and the right to reproduce, distribute, perform in public or communicate to the public that audiovisual work. The Convention also provides for “moral rights”, that is, the right to claim authorship of the work and the right to object to any mutilation, deformation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the work that would be prejudicial to the author’s honor or reputation.

 

(c) As to the duration of protection, the general rule is that protection must be granted until the expiration of the 50th year after the author’s death. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection expires 50 years after the work has been lawfully made available to the public, except if the pseudonym leaves no doubt as to the author’s identity or if the author discloses his or her identity during that period; in the latter case, the general rule applies. In the case of audiovisual (cinematographic) works, the minimum term of protection is 50 years after the making available of the work to the public (“release”) or – failing such an event – from the creation of the work. In the case of works of applied art and photographic works, the minimum term is 25 years from the creation of the work.

 

(3) The Berne Convention allows certain limitations and exceptions on economic rights, that is, cases in which protected works may be used without the authorization of the owner of the copyright, and without payment of compensation. These limitations are commonly referred to as “free uses” of protected works, and are set forth in Articles 9(2) (reproduction in certain special cases), 10 (quotations and use of works by way of illustration for teaching purposes), 10bis (reproduction of newspaper or similar articles and use of works for the purpose of reporting current events) and 11bis(3) (ephemeral recordings for broadcasting purposes).

 

(4) The Appendix to the Paris Act of the Convention also permits developing countries to implement non-voluntary licenses for translation and reproduction of works in certain cases, in connection with educational activities. In these cases, the described use is allowed without the authorization of the right holder, subject to the payment of remuneration to be fixed by the law.

 

The Berne Union has an Assembly and an Executive Committee. Every country that is a member of the Union and has adhered to at least the administrative and final provisions of the Stockholm Act is a member of the Assembly. The members of the Executive Committee are elected from among the members of the Union, except for Switzerland, which is a member ex officio.

 

The establishment of the biennial program and budget of the WIPO Secretariat – as far as the Berne Union is concerned – is the task of its Assembly.

 

The Berne Convention, concluded in 1886, was revised at Paris in 1896 and at Berlin in 1908, completed at Berne in 1914, revised at Rome in 1928, at Brussels in 1948, at Stockholm in 1967 and at Paris in 1971, and was amended in 1979.

 

The Convention is open to all States. Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), the principles of national treatment, automatic protection and independence of protection also bind those World Trade Organization (WTO) Members not party to the Berne Convention. In addition, the TRIPS Agreement imposes an obligation of “most-favored-nation treatment”, under which advantages accorded by a WTO Member to the nationals of any other country must also be accorded to the nationals of all WTO Members. It is to be noted that the possibility of delayed application of the TRIPS Agreement does not apply to national treatment and most-favored obligations.

 

Under the TRIPS Agreement, an exclusive right of rental must be recognized in respect of computer programs and, under certain conditions, audiovisual works.

 

Under the TRIPS Agreement, any term of protection that is calculated on a basis other than the life of a natural person must be at least 50 years from the first authorized publication of the work, or – failing such an event – 50 years from the making of the work. However, this rule does not apply to photographic works, or to works of applied art.

 

It is to be noted that WTO Members, even those not party to the Berne Convention, must comply with the substantive law provisions of the Berne Convention, except that WTO Members not party to the Convention are not bound by the moral rights provisions of the Convention.

 

 Brussels Convention:

 

The Brussels or Satellites Convention provides for the obligation of each Contracting State to take adequate measures to prevent the unauthorized distribution on or from its territory of any programme-carrying signal transmitted by satellite.

 

The Brussels or Satellites Convention provides for the obligation of each Contracting State to take adequate measures to prevent the unauthorized distribution on or from its territory of any programme-carrying signal transmitted by satellite. A distribution is considered unauthorized if it has not been authorized by the organization – typically a broadcasting organization – that decided on the programme’s content. The obligation exists in respect of organizations that are nationals of a Contracting State.

 

The Convention permits certain limitations on protection. The distribution of programme-carrying signals by non-authorized persons is permitted if the signals carry short excerpts containing reports of current events or, as quotations, short excerpts of the programme carried by the emitted signals or, in the case of developing countries, if the programme carried by the emitted signals is distributed solely for the purposes of teaching, including adult teaching or scientific research. The Convention does not establish a term of protection, leaving the matter to domestic legislation.

 

The provisions of this Convention are not applicable, however, where the distribution of signals is made from a direct broadcasting satellite.

 

The Convention does not provide for the institution of a Union, governing body or budget.

 

It is open to any State member of the United Nations or of any of the agencies belonging to the United Nations system of organizations.

 

Instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession must be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

 

 

 

Madrid Agreement (Indications of Source):

 

According to the Madrid Agreement, all goods bearing a false or deceptive indication of source, by which one of the Contracting States, or a place situated therein, is directly or indirectly indicated as being the country or place of origin, must be seized on importation, or such importation must be prohibited, or other actions and sanctions must be applied in connection with such importation.

 

The Agreement provides for the cases and the manner in which seizure may be requested and effected. It prohibits the use, in connection with the sale, display or offering for sale of any goods, of all indications in the nature of publicity capable of deceiving the public as to the source of the goods. It is reserved to the courts of each Contracting State to decide which appellations (other than regional appellations concerning the source of products of the vine) do not, on account of their generic character, come within the scope of the Agreement. The Agreement does not provide for the establishment of a Union, governing body or budget.

 

The Agreement, concluded in 1891, was revised at Washington in 1911, at The Hague in 1925, at London in 1934, at Lisbon in 1958 and at Stockholm in 1967.

 

The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

 

 

Rajin Ahmed

Ph.D. (Fellow), Advocate. Member: Bangladesh Intellectual Property Law Society (BIPLS). Member: Society for Information and Research on Business Intellectual Inventions (SIRBII). Associate: Intellectual Property Association of Bangladesh

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