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Supporting Culture and Innovation: Report on the Provisions and Operation of the Copyright Act
International Conventions on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights
Several treaties define internationally agreed, basic standards of protection for either copyright or neighbouring rights in member countries:
- The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, implemented in 1886, contains a series of provisions defining the minimum standards of protection regarding copyright. It requires national treatment with respect to most rights. It has been revised several times since its adoption. Canada first joined the Berne Convention in 1923 and ratified the 1971 version of the Berne Convention on 28 September 1998. The Convention is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
- The Universal Copyright Convention was adopted in 1952 and has been revised since then under the aegis of UNESCO. The Convention stipulates the methods of copyright protection appropriate to all nations, sets minimum standards, which are somewhat lower than those in the Berne Convention and also requires national treatment. It provided international copyright protection for a number of countries that did not meet the standards required by the Berne Convention. Canada adhered to the Convention on August 10, 1962.
- The International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (the Rome Convention) was adopted in 1961. It was the first international convention dealing with performers, phonogram producers (i.e. sound recording makers) and broadcasting organizations. Canada ratified the Convention on June 4, 1998. This Convention is administered by WIPO, UNESCO and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
- The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (the Internet Treaties) are the first treaties to address copyright and neighbouring rights in the digitally networked environment. Signed by Canada in 1997, they came into force in 2002. Canada is currently considering their ratification.
International Trade Agreements
Several international trade agreements include provisions on intellectual property, including copyright and related rights. They seek to strengthen but not replace existing international conventions on these matters.
- The Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force in 1988 and resulted in amendments to the Copyright Act to include provisions on the retransmission of terrestrial radio and television programs by cable and satellite systems.
- The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force, for the most part, on January 1, 1994. It includes requirements with respect to national treatment and most favoured nation treatment; minimum standards for protecting intellectual property, including copyright; standards for enforcing these rights; and a mechanism for resolving disputes on the compliance of NAFTA members with these standards. The cultural industries provision in the NAFTA means that copyright obligations with respect to cultural industries (as defined in the NAFTA) are limited to the obligations under the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement.
- The World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) came into force in Canadian law on January 1, 1996. It includes requirements with respect to national treatment and most favoured nation treatment; minimum standards for protecting intellectual property, including copyright; standards for enforcing these rights; and a mechanism for resolving disputes on the compliance of WTO members with these standards.
(Note: Most favoured nation treatment means that if a country grants additional protection to another country, it must extend that protection to all other members of the relevant treaty.)
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