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The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty, abbreviated as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, was an international treaty on copyright law adopted by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1996. It provides additional protections for copyright deemed necessary by knowledge monopoly dependent industries due to advances in information technology since the formation of previous copyright treaties before it. There have been a variety of criticisms of this treaty, including that it is overbroad (for example in its prohibition of circumvention of technical protection measures, even where such circumvention is used in the pursuit of legal and fair use rights) and that it applies a 'one size fits all' standard to all signatory countries despite widely differing stages of economic development and knowledge industry.
It ensures that computer programs are protected as literary works in its fourth article, and that the arrangement and selection of material in databases is protected in its fifth.
It provides authors of works with control over their rental and distribution in Articles 6 to 8 which they may not have under the Berne Convention alone. It also prohibits circumvention of technological measures for the protection of works as stated in Article 11 and unauthorised modification of rights management information contained in works in Article 12.
The WIPO Copyright Treaty is implemented in United States law by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). By Decision of March 16, 2000, the European Council approved the treaty, on behalf of the European Community. European Union Directive]]s 91/250/EC creates copyright protection for software and 96/9/EC for database protection and European Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC prohibits devices for circumventing "technical protection measures" such as digital rights management largely cover the subject matter of the treaty.
However, the WIPO Copyright Treaty made no reference to copyright term extension beyond the existing terms of the Berne Convention, but there was a degree of association. This was because the United States Congress passed both the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which enacts copyright term extension during the same week and used the same method using voice vote to make it less likely that the news media would report on the bills, in addition, the European Union adopted a similar copyright term extension around the same time.
- The text of the treaty is available at:
- The United Kingdom implemented much of Article 11 in 1988:
- The parties to the treaty are listed at: