What is the Berne Copyright Convention?

The Berne Convention is an agreement that offers authors the protection and rights for their literary and artistic works, even after their death. This agreement was introduced in Bern in 1886, and over the years has been modified numerous times.

The agreement is basically based on three essential principles and offers a number of solutions that help in determining the least protection that is granted to these authors. Also, the agreement offers special solutions for the developing countries where this act is being implemented.

Some rules and regulations

The Signatories of the Convention established the Berne Copyright Union. The main aim of the convention was to make sure that all of the countries that are in the contract would provide protection, automatically, or all the works that are published for the first time in other countries of the Bern union.

The convention would also provide protection for all of the unpublished works of those specific authors that happen to be citizens or residents of similar countries.

Each country that happens to be the member of the union must guarantee the rights that are granted to each and every person of that country, to all the other authors who happen to be nationals of other member countries.

Therefore if your work is published in a Berne country, and you happen to be a national of a nonunion country, then the union country may end up restricting the protection to such an extent that the protection will be limited to the country you happen to be a national of.


Moral rights

This Convention also provides moral rights including the right to claim authorship of your work, along with the right to object to any form of mutilation and modification to your work that could damage your reputation.

The convention states that the protection offered must not be conditional due to any consent with any type of formality. The Protection is independent of any other already existing law that provides protection to the author’s work in the country.

However, if the Contracting State is providing a long term protection when compared to the minimum protection offered by the convention, and if your work ceases to be protected in the country where it was created, then the protection can be denied once protection ceases.

How long will this protection last?

According to the convention, the duration of the protection will be granted up to the 50th year after the author of the work has died. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

These exceptions include:

If the work is anonymous or is fixed under a false name, then the protection it has will expire after 50 years the work has been lawfully made available to the public eye.

However, if the work is under a false name yet everyone is aware of the author’s true identity, or if the author has disclosed their identity, the protection of copyright will be granted up to the 50th year after the author of the work has died.