The protection and promotion of copyright is one of IPA's key objectives. Respect for copyright encourages the dissemination of knowledge and rewards creators and their publishers.

As copyright attempts to strike a balance between the needs of creators and the needs of users, it is a complex area of law.

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Publishers & Copyright

With respect to rights, publishers have a dual role. As copyright users or licensees, they are entitled through agreements with authors and other publishers to use copyright protected works; as copyright owners or licensors, they grant a right to other publishers or users to copy, translate, adapt or otherwise use copyright protected works.

As users of copyrighted works, they have an interest in ensuring that copyright protection retains certain limitations, and that the limited duration of copyright ensures that creative works can enter the public domain. This way, publishers can just like other creators build their creative efforts on existing ones.

As owners of copyright, publishers have an interest in enforcing their property and commercial rights, and to prevent any activity putting at risk their commercial calculations. For this reason, they fight any unauthorised copying ("piracy"). From a publisher perspective it makes no difference whether a book is stolen or a work is copied unlawfully. This is why publishers engage in anti-piracy activities

International Copyright Treaties

Copyright is not only exploited at national level. Books and other copyrighted works are translated into many languages, or distributed in a number of countries. If copyright regimes differ too much from one country to another, creators lose out: For this reason, the drafting of international copyright treaties has always been a focal area of international conventions and organisations. Such treaties recognise that each country will have its own set of copyright laws. They do, however, lay down certain minimum standards as a basis for national laws, and secure protection under these laws for works of foreign creators, or works created abroad.

The main copyright treaties of relevance for book and journal publishers today are:

1. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation WIPO, and counting more than 155 contracting parties;

2. TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), administered by WTO, counting more than 140 members;

3. WIPO Copyright Treaty, administered by WIPO and counting approx. 60 contracting parties;

4. Universal Copyright Convention, administered by UNESCO and counting more than 60 contracting parties.

Limitations and three-step test

Under international treaties, copyright may be limited so as to allow e.g. the use of the work for illustration and teaching purposes, or in quotations. Generally, such copyright exceptions must be confined to (1) special cases where the reproduction of the work (2) does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and (3) does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the copyright owner. The compliance with these three conditions is checked in the “three-step-test” set out in major international copyright treaties, such as in Berne Convention Article 9(2), or in WTO TRIPS Agreement Article 13. For more, please refer to “More Info”.

Copyright Term

The duration of the economic aspects of copyright is limited. In the case of literary works, international treaties prescribe a minimum term of 50 years after the death of the author. Many national jurisdictions and international treaties do however provide for a longer term of protection, e.g. 70 years in the European Union.

During this period, the copyright owner alone is entitled to reproduce, authorise or prevent the reproduction of, the copyrighted work - subject to limited exceptions: after all, copyright is a proprietary right.

Moral Rights

Unlike other property rights, copyright not only entails economic rights but often also so-called moral rights. Moral rights include the right to be identified as the author, or the right to object to derogatory treatment of one's work. These usually remain with the creator notwithstanding any agreement for the commercial exploitation of the copyrighted work.

Characteristics

Like any kind of property, copyright can normally be assigned, inherited or otherwise passed on to others. This gives the creator the possibility to commercially exploit his creation, and to thereby make a living from his creative efforts. By way of example, the author of a literary work can sell his copyright to a publisher who converts the literary work in, say, a book which in turn he tries to sell to booksellers, or a wider audience of readers. In commercial or accountancy terms, copyright or rights granted through licences are therefore the “assets” of publishers.

Copyright Basics

Copyright is a property right granting the creator of a work a limited number of exclusive rights with respect to their work. In many legal systems, copyright is known as "author's right" (if translated literally, e.g. from French, German, and Spanish), and this emphasises the perception of copyright as a human right of the creator. Whilst copyright protection depends on national legislation, some core principles can be found in many jurisdictions around the world, as they stem from international treaties in the area of copyright.

Historically, the first right protected by copyright is literally just that: the right to copy and conversely, the right of the author to authorise - or prevent - others from copying. Other restricted acts can include the right to distribute, adapt, broadcast, cablecast and, in many jurisdictions, the right to make available to the public. All these rights can be authorised by the copyright owner, e.g. by way of agreement, often in the form of a license.

Copyright is usually granted to the author of a work in recognition for his original creative efforts; in most countries a work attracts copyright in the moment of its fixation, independent of any registration or other formality. This means that a literary or artistic work is subject to copyright as soon as it is written down, drawn, painted or photographed. Rough handwritten notes and pencil sketches are just as much protected as a finished book or a painting in a gallery. It is always the manifestation of a creative effort that is protected by copyright, and never the idea itself.

Enforcement

Piracy, the unauthorized use of copyrighted works, is a serious issue for publishers. Book piracy, whether in print or digital form, is costing publishers around the world billions of dollars annually. It creates significant harmful effects throughout the book chain, hurting publishers, distributors and retailers, but also authors and readers.

In the digital age, electronic files can be created and spread widely within short time periods. Sharing illegal copies for free online means publishers lose out on sales and authors lose out on royalties. It also leads to a decline in the perceived value of a book.

To reduce the level of piracy affecting our industry, IPA engages in a wide range of awareness-raising and training programmes. We provide assistance to our members in identifying ways to tackle specific cases of copyright infringement, and we act as a platform for information. IPA regularly raises the topic of piracy with key officials at international organisations, including WTO and WIPO. We also work in co-operation with law enforcement agencies and with partners in other creative industries. The IPA helps member associations lobby for effective national anti-piracy laws.

With new technologies emerging, the piracy problem will continue to evolve. The IPA plays a leading role in raising awareness of piracy problems and coordinating effective publisher responses.

For assistance on specific matters, please the IPA Secretariat

IPA and Copyright Policy Making

The most important assets of publishers are the rights they own or control in the works they publish. Copyright is the main legal instrument to protect these rights. It is the safeguard that protects publisher investment, the incentive that determines the relationship between author and publisher and provides the livelihood for both. For this reason, the defence and promotion of copyright is one of IPA's core objectives.

IPA in International Forum

IPA enjoys observer status at UN organisations, including WIPO and UNESCO, and also maintains a close relationship with WTO. This allows IPA to influence international copyright policy in various ways:

IPA has the right to attend diplomatic conferences dealing with copyright issues, and can make oral and written submissions outlining the views or concerns of the publishing industry on a particular initiative. This way, IPA can ensure that diplomatic delegates consider the needs of the book and journal publishing industry prior to voting on the adoption of a treaty or other policy measure. IPA can therefore actively contribute to the introduction or improvement of copyright laws.

IPA's regular contacts with key staff of the WIPO, UNESCO and WTO Secretariats allow IPA to identify issues early on and to offer advice and guidance in the interest of the international publishing community.

IPA at National and Regional Level

IPA enjoys observer status at UN organisations, including WIPO and UNESCO, and also maintains a close relationship with WTO. This allows IPA to influence international copyright policy in various ways:

IPA has the right to attend diplomatic conferences dealing with copyright issues, and can make oral and written submissions outlining the views or concerns of the publishing industry on a particular initiative. This way, IPA can ensure that diplomatic delegates consider the needs of the book and journal publishing industry prior to voting on the adoption of a treaty or other policy measure. IPA can therefore actively contribute to the introduction or improvement of copyright laws.

IPA's regular contacts with key staff of the WIPO, UNESCO and WTO Secretariats allow IPA to identify issues early on and to offer advice and guidance in the interest of the international publishing community.

Awareness Raising

IPA organises and/or participates in major conferences and symposia to raise copyright awareness. IPA is also an active partner in major copyright events organised by WIPO and UNESCO.

Litigation Support

IPA can also support its Members, or members of its Member organisations, as well as fellow-rightsholder organisations, in court litigation. For the sake of defending copyright, IPA has intervened as amicus curiae in major court cases, establishing or re-affirming key principles of copyright.

Standard Setting

As a member of various standard setting bodies IPA assists in the development of copyright-related industry standards. More information can be found here.

Other Support

IPA supports the publishing industry also through the:

Organisation of tailor-made regional copyright workshops and awareness-raising initiatives;

Co-operation and participation in national copyright workshops and awareness-raising activities;

Advice on regulatory matters affecting licensing (including competition and antitrust law).

Copyright Links

Below is a list of other international organizations that are focused on copyright and intellectual property. 

 

Supranational organizations and copyright:

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)
UNESCO Culture Sector, Copyright Division
WTO TRIPS Gateway

 

International copyright treaties: 

WIPO Berne Convention
WIPO Copyright Treaty
UNESCO Universal Copyright Convention
WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

 

Copyright Laws:

WIPO Collection of IP Laws
UNESCO Collection of national copyright laws (no deep-linking possible; follow links)

 

National and regional copyright offices:

European Commission:

Directorate General Internal Market, Copyright and Related Rights section
Directorate General Information Society and Media
Directorate General External Trade, Intellectual Property section

 

Canada:

Canadian Intellectual Property Office
WIPO Directory of IP Offices
 (per country)

 

Non-governmental Organisations and academic copyright think tanks:

Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété Intellectuelle (AIPPI), Zurich
Association littéraire et artistique internationale (ALAI)
Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law (MPI IP), Munich
Institut für Urheber- und Medienrecht, Munich
Institute for Information Law, Amsterdam
Copyright Society of the USA (CSUSA) New York
Centre de recherche informatique et droit (CRID), Namur
Stanford Law School, Center for Internet and Society (CIS)
Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

 

International rightsholder representatives:

International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM)
International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP)
International Federation of Scholarly Publishers (IFSP)
International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)
International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO)
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF)
World Association of Newspapers (WAN)

 

Other international stakeholder associations:

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
World Blind Union (WBU)
Creative Commons
Open Content Alliance (OCA)

Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Folklore

Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Folklore

Discussions on folklore protection affect all creative industries, including publishing.

By way of example, publishers of children's books and school books make reference in their works to the cultural context and environment of their readers. The retelling of folk tales or the depiction of the culture forming part of their readers' daily lives is part of the editorial content.

Similarly, many writers of fiction are inspired by local customs, traditions and the social environment. Academic publishers publish works describing ethnological observations; others may publish medical research which is based on discoveries by indigenous peoples.

In recent years, governments have called for a special legal framework at international level for the protection of their traditional cultural expressions or folklore. International organisations such as WIPO and UNESCO have long sought to address legal, conceptual, operational and administrative needs and issues in this area. At national level, a number of jurisdictions have enacted legislation for the protection of folklore.

IPA has been a central participant in the international debate on folklore protection. We support the protection of folklore because its formal identification and acknowledgement strengthens respect for traditional cultural expressions.

However, IPA also believes that any international framework for the protection of folklore should ensure that the positive impact of publishers' activities on the culture which they operate is not threatened. In particular, IPA tries to ensure that any possible new international framework does not conflict with one's freedom of expression.

Please contact the for more details.

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