International copyright law
There is no such thing as an international copyright law. Nevertheless, protection against unauthorized use in a particular country depends on the national laws of that country. Nearly 180 countries have ratified a treaty – the Berne Convention 1886, amended many times since then and administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 1979.
The Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) was adopted in 1952 under the aegis of UNESCO with a view to extend international copyright protection universally. The UCC was revised in 1971.
WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property services, policy, information and cooperation. It is a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 191 member states.
WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) was issued in 1996.
Despite the fact that the copyright law is subject to national legislations based sometimes on very different legal systems, the Berne Convention contains provisions which provide the minimum protection to be granted amongst its signatories. As WIPO explains, there are 3 basic principles, to which all the contracting members agree:
Even if a particular country is not bound to protect copyrights by international copyright treaties or conventions, protection under the specific provisions of the country’s national laws may still be possible.
A listing of countries and the nature of their copyright relations with the United States is available from the U.S. Copyright Office.
WTO World Trade Organization Agreement
Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) (1994)
Copyright in the United States is covered mainly by The Copyright Act of 1976. In the EU countries legislation is based on a number of regulations including The European Directive on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (2001/29/EC) also known as Informative Society Directive.
Directive 2001/29/EC is a directive of the European Union enacted to implement the WIPO Copyright Treaty and to harmonise aspects of copyright law across Europe, such as copyright exceptions. The directive was enacted under the internal market provisions of the Treaty of Rome
The UNESCO Information for All Programme is an intergovernmental program, created in 2000. Through IFAP, Governments of the world have pledged to harness the new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information.