Two new treaties relating to copyright in digital transmissions were agreed at the World Intellectual Property Organization's Diplomatic Conference, which concluded on 20 December 1996. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a United Nations agency, with a membership of some 159 states from around the world. The Diplomatic Conference on Certain Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Questions, held in December 1996, resulted in two new treaty texts being agreed and signed. These will now be open for ratification by all member states of WIPO. The two treaties agreed were: - WIPO Copyright Treaty; - WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. These two treaties provide an exclusive right for, respectively, authors, and performers and producers of phonograms, to authorize the making available of their works, performances and phonograms to the public, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them. This covers on-demand, interactive transmissions on the Internet. The Conference agreed that the mere provision of facilities to enable or make a communication does not in itself amount to a communication. The treaties contain provisions on obligations concerning technological measures of protection and electronic rights management information. The Conference also discussed whether specific provisions are necessary concerning temporary reproductions, but decided that these could be handled using the existing international norms on the rights of reproduction. A further proposed WIPO Treaty, the draft Treaty on Intellectual Property Rights in Databases, was not discussed at the conference. This would have granted protection for non-original databases.
Policy making and guidelines
12 February 1998