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I. THE LEGAL NATURE OF THE NEW TREATIES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

 

A. WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY

 

The first sentence of Article 1(1) of the WCT provides that "[t]his Treaty is a special agreement within the meaning of Article 20 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, as regards Contracting Parties that are countries of the Union established by that Convention." 

 

Aiticle 20 of the Berne Convention contains the following provision: "The Governments of the countries of the Union reserve the right to enter into special agreements among themselves, in so far as such agreements grant to authors more extensive rights than those granted by the Convention, or contain other provisions not contrary to this Convention." Therefore, the above-quoted provision of Article 1(1) of the WCT has a specific importance for the interpretation of the Treaty. It makes it Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The WIPO World Forum on the Protection of Intellectual Property in the Information Society (Naples, October 1995) in a way offered a summary of those solutions and an outline of the most appropriate legal solutions in a decisive period of the preparatory work. The material of all those meetings is available in WIPO publications.

 



{9} See WIPQ documents CRNR/DC/94 and 95, and, for the agreed statements concerning the treaties, WIPO documents CRNR/DC/96 and 97.



200            COLUMBIA-VLA JOURNAL OF LAW & THE ARTS            [21:3-4

 

obvious that no interpretation of the WCT is acceptable which might result in any decrease of the level of protection granted by the Berne Convention.{10}

 

Article 1(4) of the WCT establishes a further guarantee for the fullest possible respect of the Berne Convention, since it includes, by reference, all substantive provisions of the Berne Convention into the Treaty in providing that "Contracting Parties shall comply with Articles 1 to 21 and the Appendix of the Berne Convention." Article 1(3) clarifies that, in this context, the Beme Convention means the 1971 Paris Act of the Convention. These provisions should be considered in the light of the provisions of Article 17 of the Treaty, referred to below, under which not only countries party to the 1971 Paris Act, and, in general, not only countries party to any act of the Berne Convention, but also any member countries of WIPO, irrespective of whether or not they are party to the Convention, and also certain intergovernmental organizations, may adhere to the Treaty.

 

Article 1(2) contains a safeguard clause similar to the one included in Article 2.2 of the TRIPs Agreement: "Nothing in this Treaty shall derogate from existing obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under the Beme Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works." The scope of this safeguard clause differs from the one included in the TRIPs Agreement.{11} The latter has importance also from the viewpoint of at least one article of the Berne Convention which contains substantive provisions -namely Article 6bis on moral rights - since the TRIPs Agreement confers no rights or obligations in respect to that article. On the other hand, Article 1(2) of the WCT only has relevance from the viewpoint of Article 22 to 38 of the Berne Convention containing administrative provisions and final clauses which are not included by reference (either in the WCT or in the TRIPs Agreement) and only to the extent that those provisions provide for obligations of the Contracting Parties.{12}

 

The second sentence of Article 1(1) of the WCT deals with the question of what relationship the WCT may have with treaties other than the Beme Convention. It states that "[t]his Treaty shall not have any connection with treaties other than the Berne Convention, nor shall it prejudice any rights and obligations under any other treaties." The TRIPs Agreement and the Universal Copyright Convention are among such "other" treaties.{13}

 



{10} That was one of the reasons for which such a legal form was attractive for those who were interested in an appropriate level of copyright protection. The other reason was that, while for a revision of the Berne Convention unanimity is needed (see Article 27(3)) (which now with the more than 120 member countries of the Berne Union would be obviously difficult to achieve), a special agreement, by definition, may be concluded by any group of member countries of the Union (among themselves and also with countries outside the Union).

 

{11} The TRIPs safeguard clause refers not only to the Beme Convention; it reads as follows: "Nothing in Parts I to IV of this Agreement shall derogate from existing obligations that Members may have to each other under the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, the Rome Convention and the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits."

 

{12} Actually, there are not too many such obligations; they only extend to the communication of relevant national laws and official texts (Article 24(2)), payment of contribution to the budget (Article 25(5)) and the availability of measures necessary to apply the Convention (Article 36).

 

{13} The discussions during the preparatory consultations and at the Diplomatic Conference indicated that what those developing countries (first of all, Brazil) which proposed such a provision wanted to mainly avoid was any possible link with the TRIPs Agreement, and particularly with its dispute settlement mechanism. The provision, however, seems unnecessary. Neither the WCT nor the WPPT contains any provisions to establish such a link, and, without such provisions, there is no legal basis for any interpretation which would suggest the existence of such a link. At the same time, Article 1(2) of the WCT and the corresponding provision of the WPFT (Article 1(3)) does not exclude the possibility for the TRIPs Agreement or some other treaty to

 



1997]            THE WIPO "INTERNET" TREATIES            201

It should also be pointed out that there is no specific relationship between the WCT and the WPPT either, and the latter is also an "other" treaty covered by the second sentence of Article 1(1) of the WCT. There is even no such relationship between the WCT and the WPPT as the one existing between the Berne Convention and the Rome Convention. Under Article 24(2) of the Rome Convention, only those countries may adhere to that Convention which are party to the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, while, in principle, any member country of WIPO may accede to the WPPT; it is not a condition that they be party to the WCT (or the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention). It is another matter that such a separate adhesion is not desirable, and, hopefully, will not take place.

 

B. WIPO PERORMANCES AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY

 

When the preparatory work leading to the Diplomatic Conference started in 1990-91, only one single treaty was foreseen which was tentatively called a protocol to the Beme Convention and which became later the WCT. According to the terms of reference, that treaty was to also cover the protection of sound recordings and thus serve as a "bridge" between the various legal systems. That was not acceptable to those countries which feel strongly about the need to separate copyright and "neighboring rights," largely due to some dogmatic reasons and a misunderstanding that in that way the treaty might require them to provide protection for sound recordings under copyright rather than under "neighboring rights." Thus, as Eve was born from a rib of Adam, a separate project was born under the (unofficial) name of the "New Instrument" to cover the rights of producers of phonograms and, along with those rights, also the rights of performers. From then on, two committees of experts dealt with the "Berne Protocol" and the "New Instrument," which, however, later regularly held joint sessions.

 

In the early period of the preparatory work of the WPPT - the "New Instrument" - the idea emerged that it should have the same relationship with the Rome Convention as the WCT - the "Berne Protocol" - was supposed to have with the Beme Convention; that is, it should be a special agreement under Article 22 of the Rome Convention (which determines the nature and conditions of such agreements, mutatis mutandis, the same way as Article 20 of the Beme Convention).

 

This idea, however, did not get sufficient support, and the relationship between the WPPT and the Rome Convention has been regulated in a way that it is similar to the relationship of the TRlPs Agreement and the Rome Convention. This means that (i) in general, the application of the substantive provisions of the Rome Convention is not an obligation of the Contracting Parties; (ii) only a small number of provisions of the Rome Convention is included by reference (those relating to the criteria of eligibility for protection);{14} and (iii) Article 1(2) of the Treaty contains, mutatis mutandis, practically the same provision as Article 2.2 of the TRIPs Agreement: it provides that nothing in the Treaty derogates from obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under the Rome Convention.

 

establish some kind of link in the future, for example, by including in them, by reference, the provisions of the WCT and the WPPT.

 



{14.} See the references in Article 3(2) and (3) of the WPTT to such provisions of the Rome Convention.



202            COLUMBIA-VLA JOURNAL OF LAW & THE ARTS            [21:3-4

 

Article 1(3) of the Treaty, in respect to the relation to the other treaties, includes a provision similar to the one in Article 1(2) of the WCI' quoted above. "The Treaty shall not have any connection with, nor shall it prejudice any rights and obligations under, any other treaties."

 

The title of Article 1 of the WPPT is "Relation to Other Conventions," but its paragraph (2) deals with a broader question, namely the relation between copyright, on the one hand, and the "neighboring rights" provided in the Treaty, on the other. This provision reproduces the text of Article 1 of the Rome Convention word by word: "Protection granted under this Treaty shall leave intact and shall in no way affect the protection of copyright in literary and artistic works. Consequently, no provision of this Treaty may be interpreted as prejudicing such protection." It is well known that, in spite of the fact that, during the 1961 Diplomatic Conference adopting the Rome Convention, such attempts were resisted and this is clearly reflected in the records of the Conference,{15} there have always been experts who tried to interpret that provision in suggesting that, under it, not only the protection but also the exercise of copyright should be left completely intact by the protection and exercise of neighboring rights; that is, if, for example, an author wishes to authorize the use of the sound recording of a performance of his work, neither the performer nor the producer of the recording should be able to prohibit that use on the basis of his neighboring rights. The Diplomatic Conference rejected such interpretation when it adopted an agreed statement which reads as follows:

 

"It is understood that Article 1(2) clarifies the relationship between rights in phonograms under this Treaty and copyright in works embodied in the phonograms. In cases where authorization is needed from both the author of a work embodied in the phonogram and a performer or producer owning rights in the phonogram, the need for the authorization of the author does not cease to exist because the authorization of the performer or producer is also required, and vice versa."{16}

 

 

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