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12 - Rights on the Border: The Berne Convention and Neighbouring Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 June 2017

Ruth L. Okediji
Affiliation:
University of Minnesota School of Law
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Summary

Abstract

This chapter is concerned with the relationship between authors’ rights and related or neighbouring rights, and the way in which this relationship was developed in the period up to 1939. While the conditions for protection of authored works under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works were initially quite generous, it subsequently became more difficult for later claimants, such as photographic works and works of applied art, to gain protection. But if such protection was ultimately obtained, albeit subject to significant qualifications, the doors were firmly shut against the claims of a number of other “value-adders” in the literary and artistic production chain, notably phonogram producers, performers, and broadcasters. This was on the basis that these persons or entities were not “authors” and their productions were not “works.”

Accordingly, the notion of separate related or neighbouring rights protection began to be explored at the international level in a number of forums outside the Berne Union. These included: the International Institute for Intellectual Co-operation in Paris, an autonomous body associated with the League of Nations and later absorbed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law at Rome, more usually known as UNIDROIT; and the International Labour Office, the permanent Secretariat of the International Labour Organization or ILO in Geneva. Working through a committee of experts convoked by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law that met in Samedan, Switzerland, in July 1939, a series of draft international instruments dealing with the protection of performers and phonogram producers, and broadcasters were produced. Two further draft instruments dealt with the protection of news items and droit de suite.

The work of the Samedan Committee was cut short by the advent of World War II. Although now largely forgotten today, its influence is seen in developments after 1945 in the cases of performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters, leading up to the adoption of the Rome Convention in 1961. More importantly, the work of the Samedan Committee, and the preparations leading up to it, cast important light on the relationship between authors’ and related rights, and the emerging thinking on these issues at both the international and national levels in this early period.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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