International Copyright Regulation and the Music Industry

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Keith Nurse


The international regulatory framework for intellectual property rights has been strengthened by the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement for Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In terms of copyright, the new regulatory framework calls for all member countries  to comply with the substantive provisions of the Berne Convention (1971) for the protection of literary and artistic works, but it does not require the observance of moral rights.The agreement enhances the monitoring  capacity and enforcement capabilities on a global scale. Many of the countries which were not party to the Berne Convention have been brought into copyright law under the WTO framework. Thus, for the first time in International Law, member states are to provide within their national law effective procedures and remedies for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, either through the normal civil judicial process or through other appropriate measures. The main additions to the area of copyright as it relates to music and related rights (e.g., neighbouring rights) are: provisions that require authors and composers of sound recordings to be given the right to authorize or prohibit the commercial rental of their works to the public; provisions that require performers to be given protection from unauthorized recording and broadcast of live performances (e.g., bootlegging); the protection for performers and producers of sound recordings have been expanded from a prior minimum of 20 years under the Rome convention to no less than 50 years; provisions that require that broadcasting organizations would have control over the use that can be made of broadcast signals wthout their authorization, for at least 20 years.

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