Are Copyrights Used in Foreign Countries?
Every country has its own copyright laws and there is no automatic international right of protection for intellectual property. However, several treaties and agreements are in place to protect the rights of intellectual property owners.
The Paris Convention of 1883 and the Berne Convention of 1886 are the earliest agreements designed to protect international intellectual property rights. They require all member states to grant to authors the same rights they would give to their own nationals.
World Intellectual Property Organization
The World Intellectual Property Organization was founded in 1967 as an agency of the United Nations. Its 184 member states agree to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations."
World Trade Organization
In 1995, the World Trade Organization established the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which "introduced intellectual property rules into the multilateral trading system for the first time."
A number of laws have been passed to address the complicated nature of the Internet and electronic media. These include the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 and the European Union's Copyright Directive of 2001.
A Landmark Case
On December 18, 2009, The New York Times reported that La Martinière, a French publishing group, had successfully sued Google over its controversial Book Search program. Google's attempt to digitize every book in the world's libraries has posed a major test of international copyright laws.