Wednesday, December 16, 2009

European Union Ratifies the WIPO Internet Treaties

The great step taken by the EU (European Union) on December 14, 2009 the ratification of the so-called "Internet Treaties" - the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) - which establish the basic standards of protection for copyright and related rights in the digital environment. Now EU plays a leading role in promoting use of the Internet and in developing on-line content, the ratification of the treaties will positively influence the development of creativity within the digital environment in Europe and beyond. By ratifying these Treaties, the European Union and its member states hope to breathe new vigor into the current treaty-making work of WIPO and encourage renewed commitment to moving forward on a high level of protection for creators and creative industries." Indeed the WIPO "Internet Treaties" update the legal principles underpinning international copyright protection and the rights of performers and phonogram producers on the Internet and other digital networks.
In 2001, the EU adopted a European Copyright Directive which incorporates most of the provisions of the "WIPO Internet Treaties" concluded in 1996. All 27 EU member states have now implemented the European Copyright Directive. In 2000, the European Union and its member states took the formal decision to ratify the WIPO "Internet Treaties" together. Indeed, these two treaties also mark the first time that the EU is accorded full contracting party status in the field of copyright and related rights. The said "Internet Treaties" were adopted in December 1996 and entered into force in 2002. With these new ratifications, membership of the Internet Treaties will reach 88 for WCT and 86 for WPPT.
The "Internet Treaties" laid the ground for a balanced system of protection in the new technological environment in areas such as the interactive transmission of copyright content, limitations to copyright and the promotion of technology. After ratification of the said WCT and WPPT treaties by EU the critics of other countries copyright law will no doubt use the move to argue that other countries has fallen behind on copyright reform, it is worth noting that: most of the countries have introduced legislation designed to do the same; the European national implementations show a wide range of exceptions, opening the door to a "made-in-other country WIPO approach; for all the claims that other countries are years behind, the EU ratification arrived yesterday.
Dr.Tabrez Ahmad,
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Research Papers:

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