Document Type


Publication Date



In the private international law of intellectual property, and particularly of literary and artistic property, the basic principle is territoriality. Each country provides for its own regime of protection of works of authorship. The Berne Convention for the Protection and Literary and Artistic Works and the Universal Copyright Convention oblige their members to respect the rule of national treatment, that is, of non discrimination between domestic and foreign works from member countries. This rule reinforces the principle of territoriality, for it confirms the role of local copyright laws, by requiring that local law apply equally to the protection of local and foreign works of authorship.

Although the nondiscrimination rule of national treatment regarding the existence and scope of copyright protection has been the cornerstone of the Berne Convention since its first elaboration in 1886, the rule today may be ripe for reconsideration. Certain premises underlie the rule – premises understandable in a 19th-century document last revised in 1971. One of these premises, I believe, is that international infringements will occur sporadically, and seriatim, as works move relatively slowly from one Berne member to another. However, transborder broadcasting and satellite transmissions have already strained this asumption. Toe Global Information Infrastructure (GIi) further erodes (if it does not completely undermine) this premise of the private international law of copyright.


Intellectual Property Law | International Law | Law