Applying the Berne convention to works


Aurelia Marie

The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of September 9, 1886, establishes the basis of international protection of such works.

In particular, Article 5 of the convention, paragraphs 1 and 2, allows a foreign author to protect his rights abroad in the absence of any filing with an industrial property once, and to rely on the law applicable in the country where he wishes to act to enforce his rights.

However, to enforce copyright in court it is necessary to be the ‘author’ of the work, as the original owner of the work, or as the holder of rights acquired by way of a transfer. Up to now the majority of French court rulings have considered that the Berne Convention—and notably its Article 5—does not include a definition of the rights owner, whether initial owner or transferee.

Because of this silence, the French courts mainly used to hold that, in order to determine whether the owner of foreign copyright can take advantage of it, it was necessary to refer to the law of the country of origin of the work.

Copyright, Berne Convention, IP, France, Court of Appeal, Paris,