Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date



In 1996, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) adopted two related treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (the WIPO Treaties). Though now often referred to as the "WIPO Internet Treaties," the agreements emerged after five years of preparation, only the last two of which focused on a "digital agenda." These treaties, following on the 1994 World Trade Organization TRIPs Accord, have substantially expanded, and somewhat harmonized, the role of international copyright and neighboring rights norms in the international exchange of works of authorship and related productions. When enactment of the WIPO Treaties with their late-arriving digital agenda seemed imminent, several critics, primarily from the U.S., expressed fears that the looming international instruments were too solicitous of the desires of the copyright industries; the proposed treaties' perceived one-sidedness threatened to stifle the growth of digital technologies, and/or to snuff out fair uses.

The treaties that the December 1996 diplomatic conference ultimately produced, however, reassured some of the "digital agenda's" most vocal detractors. For example, Professor Pamela Samuelson, who attended the diplomatic conference and had anticipated a "Wipeout at WIPO," subsequently wrote that the final text retreated from the discussion draft's "maximalist" position, successfully balancing copyright owner and user interests.


Intellectual Property Law | Law


The WIPO Treaties 1996: The WIPO Copyright Treaty and The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty: Commentary and Legal Analysis, by Jorg Reinbothe & Silke von Lewinski, pp. 581, 2002.