How do I get copyright protection in other countries?
Usually your copyright work will be protected overseas automatically in the same way that it is automatically protected in the UK. The UK is a member of several international conventions in this field, notably the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (both of which are conventions administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC), which is administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Copyright material created by UK nationals or residents and falling within the scope of one of these conventions is automatically protected in each member country of the convention by the national law of that country.
Most countries belong to at least the Berne Convention and/or the UCC, but in order to benefit from the automatic protection in other countries arising from the UCC it is essential to mark your work with the international © symbol, followed by the name of the copyright owner and year of publication. A list of countries that belong to the different conventions can be obtained from WIPO or UNESCO as appropriate but all the Western European countries, the USA and Russia belong to the Berne Convention which does not even require your work to be marked in any way for automatic protection to apply. It is still advisable to mark your work in this way and take the other precautions suggested regarding copyright in the UK. Also, in the USA, there is an official register of copyright which you might want to use, although registration is not an essential condition for copyright to subsist in the USA.
Protection overseas can also arise from obligations in the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which forms part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement. Once again this is automatic so you may also find your work is protected in WTO countries; a list of these countries and details of the TRIPS agreement can be obtained from the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
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Please note. The intention of this web site is to make available wide-ranging copyright information while offering basic copyright education to our visitors. Many of your questions and queries on the subject of copyright may be answered within this web site or through the recommended links and resources provided on our links page. The information contained within this site is offered as a consideration to visitors and at no time should the information be construed as legal advice; for all legal matters, we encourage our visitors to seek the assistance of an attorney.
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