As an author or composer of an original piece of music, dance, literature or other form of artwork, you have a right to protect it. In this digital age it has never been easier for someone to take another’s personal intellectual property and claim it as his own. In order to ensure your work remains your own, you need to register for a copyright. The United States government has made it simple to apply for copyright protection. Once you have created a copy of your original work, you can either send it in via mail service or upload it onto the website www.copyright.gov. You will receive information regarding the status of your request once it has been processed.
Some creators would like to receive international copyright in order to ensure someone from another country isn’t able to infringe on their personal intellectual property. Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific type of international copyright that will cover every author, artist and composer in every country of the world. The United States has taken extra measures, though, to keep American citizens original works safe from foreigners.
International Copyright Conventions and Treaties
In order to protect the rights of American citizens who have created authentic pieces of work, the United States government has entered into different treaties and participated in international conventions that help to establish common copyright laws amongst different continents.
The main goals of these are to:
- Encourage additional development of science, culture and innovation.
- Provide economic and financial benefit to copyright holders for their original works.
- Facilitate the access of knowledge and entertainment for populations.
- With these goals in mind, the Unites States has participated in the following treaties and conventions.
- The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
The United States entered the Berne convention in March 1989, which ensures citizens will receive international protection for their copyrighted materials from every country that is a member. This means every country in the convention must recognize the copyright laws of the other countries. It also allows for protection to be produced at the moment a piece of work was completed, not when it applied for registration with a copyright service.
Universal Copyright Convention
The UCC was adopted as an alternative to the Berne Convention for countries that disagreed with some of the aspects presented. While these counties weren’t able or willing to fully adopt the Berne regulations, they still had a desire to participate in a form of international copyright that would protect the intellectual property of their citizens. The United States was originally unwilling to participate in the Berne Convention because it would have had to make large changes to its existing copyright laws, so it became a member of the UCC. However, in 1989, the U.S. did become a member of the Berne Convention after the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 addressed several large issues.
There are nearly 180 countries all over the world that have ratified a treaty and come to a mutually beneficial decision regarding international copyright. The World Intellectual Property Organization oversees and sets a standard of protection for every creator all over the world.
Protection From Specific Countries
If your original piece of work is not covered by copyright under an international convention or treaty, you may still be protected. The United States may have or create a bilateral agreement if the need arises for a provision of a specific country’s law. If an author or composer desires protection in a particular country, he or she should first research the laws in that country governing foreigners and copyright. There may be little to no support available to foreigners. Establish proper copyright laws before the work has officially been published, and remember, consult with a lawyer before you do anything.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.