European Commission ratifies the WIPO Copyright Treaties

The European Union and its Member States ratified the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty on the 14th December 2009. The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, known as the “Internet” Treaties, were concluded to make the world’s copyright laws ‘fit for the internet’.

The Internet Treaties provide for a high level of protection for creators and creative industries, containing rules on distribution, rental, the right of public communication and the “making available” of protected content online. The Treaties laid the ground for a balanced system of protection in the new technological environment in areas such as the interactive transmission of copyright content, limitations to copyright and the promotion of technologies that facilitate the distribution and use of creative content.

In 2000, the European Union and its Member States took the formal decision to ratify the WIPO Treaties together. The ratification of the Internet Treaties marked the first time that the European Union was accorded full Contracting Party status in the field of copyright, as opposed to the observer status it enjoyed so far in WIPO on copyright issues.

Immediately after the Diplomatic Conference in 1996, work started at European level to adapt European copyright law to the WIPO “internet” Treaties. A European Copyright Directive was adopted in 2001. All 27 EU Member States have meanwhile transposed the provisions of the 2001 Copyright Directive into their national legislation.

The WIPO “Internet Treaties were adopted in December 1996 and entered into force in 2002. With these new ratifications, membership of the Internet Treaties will reach 88 for WCT and 76 for WPPT.