The Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works;Berne, Switzerland, September 9, 1886.The Berne Convention first met in Switzerland in 1886. The latest version of this convention was amended on September 28th, 1979.
The treaty contains 38 articles defining protection and rights for forms of intellectual property. The protection applies for nationals of member nations for all works published or unpublished. All forms of media are taken into consideration with specific attention to audiovisual works and rules for establishing a country of origin.
The Convention itself is an attempt to standardize rights of authorship and intellectual property among nations in the world. With 183 current member nations, the agreement has been mostly successful in protecting major rights of those creating intellectual property. Developing nations however, have exhibited difficulties in enforcing copyright laws as piracy runs rampant. The Berne Union itself acts as a strong entity and through global summits and conventions, work to protect intellectual property through legislation.
The Berne Convention laid the groundwork for today’s World Intellectual Property Organization and works with the WTO to enforce the agreement. Today, the WIPO administers 24 treaties in conjunction with other organizations for the international protection of intellectual property.
The specifics of the Berne Convention describe policies and definitions for legal use of works in the international realm. The Berne Union allows for international business and trade, but most important are the interactions that entrepreneurs exhibit because of the treaties. With clearly defined agreements, authors of new works know what and how works are protected outside their homeland.
My thesis pertains to Hollywood and the Berne Convention. Because of this union, the globalization and expansion of the movie industry has exploded. From increased distribution to stronger international partnerships, the Berne Convention allows for a better understanding of intellectual property practices in the global environment.
Pub. L. No. 100-568, 102 Stat. 2853
Title 17 defines copyright law in the United States in thirteen chapters. The foundation of title 17 comes from the Copyright Act of 1976 but has been heavily updated since then.
Application to international law is addressed in the appendixes of the title, with the focus of Appendixes II through VI dealing with the Berne Convention of 1886 and the Uruguay Round Agreements, or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade annexed to the WTO Agreement. There are two agreements which title 17 references, one in 1947 and another in 1994.
The appendixes of title 17 define the United State’s adherence to the Berne Convention and subsequent GATT treaties. Appendix II states that the acceptance of the Berne Convention by the United States does not take precedence over US law and that any provisions to the convention cannot expand or reduce any rights US authors currently have. Simply put, Appendix II states a voluntary adherence to the Berne Convention in its current state while maintaining the strength of US law over the treaty.
It is important to note that while the United States respects the treaty in all member nations, respects and defines “Berne Convention Work,” it maintains current US law in practice before the specifics of the convention. This is important with regard to US Fair Use policy. The United States is almost unique in it’s definition of fair use, which title 17 upholds while still participating in the Berne Convention. Title 17 clearly states that US law takes priority over international treaties, which is good for US authors so they can continue current practices of work creation.
This applies to my thesis through the voluntary adherence of the United States to the Berne Convention. The US realizes the need for standards of trades and practices in the global community and does not abandon its history and heritage of case law. Currently one of the major exporters of intellectual property, the United States maintains a high degree of protection for its domestic works. The film industry is therefore able to expand current practices into the global economy due to the United State’s participation in the Berne Convention.
"Diplomatic Conference on WIPO Broadcast Treaty in Limbo." Communications Daily; September 28, 2006.
This article summarizes US involvement in the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights. A major agreement was discussed by the SCCR dealing with international broadcast and copyright rules, however the US strongly disagrees with the other member states. The treaty gained wide success from nearly all the member nations except the United States, who were strongly opposed.
The US stated that the first agreement on broadcast copyright laws should be general at first and that the committee would add specific details at later meetings. This would allow business practices to be evaluated and would permit a trial and error phase. Most other nations disagreed and stated while more preparation was needed, the escape clause that the US recommended was overkill.
Seeking more expert opinion before a decision, the US seemed to be one of the few nations that believed more research was needed. Pakistan stated that most of the issues were political rather than technical and that debated and compromise was needed over expert presentations. The US remained divided on the issue and would not support the agreement. The SCCR will likely schedule another meeting in 2007 to discuss broadcast copyright.
This event highlights US involvement in foreign copyright law. The United States resisted joining the Berne Convention for over 100 years and we the main hindering force in this round of agreements. This holds true to my thesis that the US wants to be part of the global economy, but on its own terms and for its own benefit above all others.
"High potential seen for Ultraman films" Bangkok Post (Thailand), Jun 10, 2005This article from the Bamrung Amnatcharoenrit reports that the Japanese character “Ultraman” is showing expanded interest for product distribution around the world greater than earlier anticipated. Ultraman was originally a Japanese television show released in 1966 with exclusive distribution in Japan. Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co. of Thailand later purchased the Ultraman copyright in all regions except Japan and has noticed a greater than anticipated interest in the character.
The article marks the end of a ten year copyright dispute between Tsuburaya Productions Co in Japan and Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co in Thailand. The company’s president, Sompote Saengduenchai states that he is enthusiastic to bring the Japanese character into worldwide distribution. Both the Japanese and Thai government ruled in favor of Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co and ordered the Japanese company to pay millions of Baht in compensation. Tsuburaya Produciton Co was unable to because of financial difficulties and it seems as though this dispute is finally over.
Sompote Saengduenchai also claimed that was in talks with an American film production company to create an American movie based on the character of Ultraman, the details of which are not yet specific.
This article pertains to my thesis about international copyright law in that it is an example of a foreign idea being implemented by another country through the application of international copyright law. Because of Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co in Thailand, distribution of this unique and popular character is not merely limited to Japan. Even though negotiations with American companies, it is likely that the US will create its own rendition of this character in film. This originally Japanese character of Ultraman would most likely not have left Japan had it not been for international copyright companies and the law to safeguard distribution.
This article in the New York Times refers to an international law case against 20th Century Fox for the production of the movie Kingdom of Heaven. The article states that James Reston Jr accused the director, Ridley Scott, and the movie production studio of producing a work that uses ''events, characters, scenes, descriptions and character tensions'' that are supposedly extremely similar to portrayals in the movie. This case was not readily available and the outcome unknown, as it may have been handled privately outside of court.
Although James Reston, Jr. is an American, his research was performed in many European and Arab countries. He claims that his book Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade was extensively copied during the creation of Scott’s film, Kingdom of Heaven. Reston’s book is written in a unique narrative form for popular readings as opposed to straightforward academic writings. While historical facts cannot be copyrighted, Reston claims that his distinct expression was illegally used.
The interesting points brought up in this article are the arguments on behalf of both domestic and international copyright law. James Reston, Jr. understands that his case is intermittently weak because it deals with the historical past, however he claims the expression of his research is what Kingdom of Heaven infringes on. The use of international copyright law in this context claims infringement but this case does not seem like it was ever brought to court. International disputes such as these are usually settled out of court so as to avoid negative publicity but also to allow distribution of the film on the original timetable. While it is unclear whether Ridley Scott used the expression of Reston’s historical research is unclear, the lack of a case and the subsequent release of the film implies that this dispute was handled so that both parties were satisfied. Kingdom of Heaven used themes gained from an international source and through current American application of international copyright law, was able to release the movie without a legal case.
"Power SHIFT." Hollywood Reporter -- International Edition; 11/18/2003, Vol. 381 Issue 18, pI1-I2, 2p, 1c
This article from the Hollywood Reporter talks about the globalization of the media industry and its implication on the American film industry. Stephen Galloway begins with an analogy between ancient Rome and modern day Hollywood stating that “empires crumble.” Galloway’s actual argument however in no way implies that Hollywood will be worse off from current trends of foreign advancement and globalization.
India, China, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are mentioned and briefly analyzed as regions which exemplify dramatic expansion and growth in this modern age. Galloway also takes note that these regions are responsible for creative ideas which Hollywood licenses for remake rights.
The changing trends in foreign countries are not limited to productions of movies, but Galloway shows how US movies are being increasingly invested by foreign investors. Quoting Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook, Galloway points to the fact that Hollywood is focusing on the world market, both for investment and distribution. Gone are the days of ‘splendid isolation,’ however it seems as though the future and profits of Hollywood seem bigger and better than ever.
This pertains to my thesis as evidence of the recent globalization of Hollywood. This world view of remakes, foreign investment, and world wide distribution would not be possible without the current implementation of international copyright law. Since the US joined the Berne Convention in 1989, legal globalization has exploded with all parties benefiting from the interaction.
"Moral Rights for Authors and Artists." Information Today; Jan2002, Vol. 19 Issue 1, p17, 2pStephanie Ardito summarizes the background of moral rights for intellectual property in the United States with emphasis on the Berne Convention of 1886. Beginning with an example of a court ruling against Samuel Clemens, she shows how laws in the United States have changed over the past hundred years and where they are likely heading.
Moral rights have been absent from US law for the most part but have origins in international trade conventions such as The Rome Act of 1928 and the Berne Convention of 1886. Both agreements contained articles pertaining to moral rights for authors different from the American style copyright. Ardito examines article 6b of the Berne convention and its three parts with regard to length of time, economic right, and governing set of rules.
Ardito points out that no national law explicitly mentioned moral rights for literary or digital works, but through various state laws, the US was allowed to join the Berne Convention. In summary, moral rights for authors are limited in the United States compared to a large part of the rest of the world. Other countries use the Berne Convention as a guide whereas the US seems to have limited desire to give ‘moral rights’ to the creators of intellectual property.
This applies to my thesis through a comparison to the rest of the world. US copyright law and doctrine is rather unique with an absence of moral rights, a fair use doctrine, and a resistance to the Berne Convention. Despite this, the United States has a strong desire to expand into the global economy. The bare minimal participation in the Berne Convention seems to satisfy US copyright culture, as current practices can be maintained while joining the global community.
"Piracy battle a global one, Shiner tells AFM attendees." Hollywood Reporter -- Internaional (2005) Vol. 391 Issue 37, p96-96, 1/3p
This article from the Hollywood Reporter describes the message given y Josette Sheeran Shiner on behalf of the US Secretary of State at the American Federation of Musicians. Shiner states that international intellectual property protection is important for everyone, not just studios in Hollywood. Shiner states that the problem of intellectual piracy is rampant in the world in nearly all sectors, not just entertainment.
Shiner credits the MPA for its work protecting film products, but she states that the problem is much broader than the ‘audiovisual sector.’ The same problem that exists with intellectual piracy in film also exists with “manufactured good from baby foods to automobile parts,” Shiner states, highlighting the need for better protection. In attempts to strengthen protection of US goods, the United States has joined APAC and the G8 with hopes of timely positive results.
As countries develop protection against piracy, Shiner claims that they tend to strengthen their own investment and brand names as well. Shiner refers to China as a region in which positive progress has been made to protect intellectual property with encouraging results.
This article points to the fact that countries that better protect intellectual property, better protect their own property, and in turn help cultivate it. Intellectual property theft is extremely common in China and as steps are taken to protect rights, brands and exports are cultivated and delivered to the rest of the world. Piracy in China has greatly hurt the Chinese film industry however, as law enforcement of intellectual property improves, the cultivation of film improves.
American cinema benefits from this through distribution and potential value for American remakes of movies. Few mainland Chinese movies are released in America due to the lack of quality from extensive piracy. However, once practices change, both China and the United State can greatly benefit from better product production, distribution, and authorized adaptation.
This business week article written at the time when the United States joined the Berne Convention for international copyright protection summarizes changes the US took to join the member states. The United States resisted joining the convention for over 100 years, however in the 1980s, trends of globalization and advances in technology made the convention much more necessary to international commerce.
Starting in 1983, the Congress of the United States began enacting laws designed to protect intellectual property in attempts to move towards the criteria of the Berne Convention of 1886. Efforts to join the convention came out of a recent desire to join the states in hopes of further protecting US intellectual property internationally.
As the article states, the 14 laws that Congress enacted from 1983 to 1988 greatly increased the number of lawsuits claiming copyright infringement by sixty percent. Many feel that this is quite out of hand and that the “pendulum may swing too far.” The author of the article claims that up until 1980, copyright infringers had the upper hand whereas these laws passed to meet the criteria of the Berne Convention give copyright holders extreme power.
Nearly two decades after this was written, we see that projections were accurate in that copyright infringement suites are at an all time high, however we also see many positive features of the 1980s legislation as well. International copyright protection is being enforced at an increasingly sufficient level and the advancement of US intellectual property has not been visibly hindered.
With regard to my thesis, this work shows how Congress enacted laws to approach the world community with regard to copyright. With greater restrictions, all US companies had to observe applicable copyright law. However, these laws also set a guideline for what could and what could not be legally done. Since these laws have been enacted, we have seen an increase in the globalization of Hollywood and an expansion of foreign markets distribution, foreign investment in US films, and foreign remakes produced by Hollywood all for the benefit of both the US and global community.
"The Trouble With Larry." Forbes (2004) Vol. 173 Issue 6, p84, 1p
The article is a response to Lessig and his beliefs than anything else. The technology section of Forbes Magazine is usually not a theater for copyright arguments and Manes goal is clear from the beginning of the article: to discredit Lessig and his extreme view of fair use. As such, Manes’ arguments are less academic and more of a subjective style. While this has limited value, Manes opinion serves as at least a dissenting view of the situation. It is these general disagreements in which Manes basis his article.
Manes believes that there is a strong need for a balanced definition of fair use for copyright law, but that Lessig’s opinion is far too liberal, allowing for illegal activities to occur at the expense of the creators. To finish his attack on Lessig, Manes points to a Supreme Court ruling that Lessig lost attempting to reform the current copyright law. Lessig believes in legal file sharing and is a proponent of technology, whereas Manes prefers current law is adequate.
A major point of disagreement comes from the fact that Manes believes a new copyright law similar in proposal to Lessig’s would be detrimental to our current international copyright law. If changed, Manes argues, it could effectively destroy treaties, agreements, and current practices of media culture, thus greatly affecting America’s cultural export.
The closing comment relates to my thesis in that Manes argues that current copyright law has established the United States as the major culture center in the world. He states that “our intellectual property provides America’s greatest worldwide successes,” and that current copyright law facilitates this flow. Manes credits current copyright law to the success and globalization of American movies and music and that Lessig’s attempt to change copyright laws would greatly detriment this.