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As diverse as our world has become, it is interesting to note that authors and other creators of intellectual property almost universally enjoy copyright law protection through their country’s copyright office, if indeed, a copyright office does exist.


Although most developed nations have their own copyright office to administer copyright law, world leaders recognized that establishing a common copyright office agreement for how to provide copyright law to artists across international boundaries was essential in a global marketplace.


Global copyright law was established at The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention), in Berne, Switzerland back in 1886. Its purpose was to establish international copyright law, not an international copyright office, applicable to all members even if they had their own copyright office.


The copyright law agreement was modified between 1886 and 1979 as new technology redefined the materials subject to copyright law. Today there are 162 countries that have a copyright office and are copyright law signatories to the Berne Convention. These countries have agreed to let their copyright office subscribe to international copyright law are called the Berne Union. The agreement is recognized by each member’s copyright office.


The United States, had a copyright office and a copyright law on its books dating back to July 17, 1790, but did not become a member of the Berne Union copyright law signatories until the U.S. Copyright Office signed on in March 1, 1989.


Summary Of Copyright Law Of Selected Major Nations


  •      United States

 Copyright law protects authors and other creative persons via the Copyright Act of 1976, latest version of the United States’ copyright law dating back to 1790.


Under this Copyright law, material subject to intellectual property protection cannot be copied or distributed by unauthorized means without the copyright holder’s permission except as covered by the Copyright law Fair Use provisions.


  •     United Kingdom

 Copyright law protection is provided to authors and other creative people via The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This copyright law provides specific copyright law protection to “creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works”.

  •     Canada

 Canada administers its copyright law through the Canadian Intellectual Property Protection Office (CIPPO). Canadian copyright law protects literary works including  “books, pamphlets, poems and other works consisting of text and computer programs,” as well as “dramatic works: films, videos, plays, screenplays and scripts, musical works: compositions that consist of both words and music or music only and artistic works: paintings, drawings, maps, photographs, sculptures and architectural works.”


Unlike in the U.S., the full copyright law protection, called “automatic copyright protection” is granted under Canadian copyright law regardless of whether or not the copyright is actually registered.


Obtaining copyright law protection through the copyright office is complicated and time consuming. That’s why you should take advantage of the unique Stamp’n’LockTM system available at the World Copyright Center so you will have irrefutable evidence that will help you should you ever need to bring an action for protection under national or international copyright law.

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