Recording industry welcomes new international copyright treaty
Entry into force of WIPO Copyright Treaty strengthens global legal framework for music on the Internet
London, December, 6, 2001 - IFPI today welcomed the 30th national ratification of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) Copyright Treaty (WCT), one of two major international treaties protecting intellectual property rights in the age of electronic commerce.
The WCT, which needed 30 ratifications into order to take effect internationally, will come into force on March 6, 2002 - exactly three months after today's confirmation by Gabon that it has become the copyright Treaty's 30th ratifier. The Treaty protects authors, composers and other creators of literature, art, music, lyrics, films and software.
For the international recording industry, the WCT's companion treaty, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) deals with the rights of record producers, as well as performers and musicians. With Gabon's accession to this Treaty as well today, the WPPT now has been ratified by 28 countries and also is expected to come into force in early 2002. The WPPT is a critical ingredient in the push to modernize copyright for music in the digital age.
Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI, paid tribute to governments that have ratified the Treaty and urged those who have yet to ratify to complete the process.
Berman said: "By ratifying the WIPO Copyright Treaty, governments in 30 countries have shown their commitment to ensuring the future success of the music industry and many other creative sectors in the digital environment. This is an important milestone, showing governments increasingly recognize the critical importance of strong copyright protection on the Internet. But the process is far from complete: a final push is needed to bring into to force the second WIPO Treaty, the WPPT."
Together, the WIPO Treaties reflect the most important updating of international copyright rules in more than 30 years. They provide the legal framework for record companies to develop a thriving online music business. And they help copyright holders fight the growing problem of mass unauthorized digital copying and Internet piracy.
The entry into force of the WCT comes almost exactly five years after the WIPO Treaties were signed by more than 60 countries at the Diplomatic Conference in Geneva in December 1996. Over half of all the signing countries have still to ratify, but many have begun the government processes necessary to join the treaties.
Notable for achieving early ratification are Japan, the USA, and a raft of countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America and CIS. A number of other countries, including the 15 countries of the European Union, are progressing with ratification, and most are expected to ratify both Treaties within the next year or so.
The key elements of the WIPO Treaties are:
IFPI is the international trade organisation of the record industry, with a membership comprising more than 1400 independent and major companies in over 70 countries.
WIPO (The World Intellectual Property Organisation) is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations. Based in Geneva, WIPO administers 21 international treaties dealing with different aspects of intellectual property protection. The Organization counts 177 nations as member states.
A comprehensive IFPI briefing paper on the WIPO Treaties ("Bringing Copyright into the new Millenium") is available on request or at our website www.ifpi.org
Further information is also available at the website of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (www.wipo.org)
Contact for information: Adrian Strain or Fiona Harley, IFPI Secretariat, Tel. 44 20 7878 7900