The world's largest journalists' group, the International Federation of Journalists, has welcomed the announcement from the World Intellectual Property Organization that a new Copyright Treaty covering rights on the internet has been adopted by enough countries to come into force early next year.
"This major treaty brings international copyright agreements up to date with the changes in the digital age", said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ.
However, the IFJ is still looking for improvement in international authors' rights policy, particularly to bring international standards more into line with European Union law. "The European Union countries have, through the directive on copyright and related rights in the Information Age, backed a policy line that strengthens the control that creators have over the use of their work," says the IFJ. "And this should provide a model for a new international framework for authors' rights."
WIPO announced that through Gabon's signature thirty countries have ratified the new copyright treaty and it will now take effect in March 2002. WIPO said two more signatures are required for the Performances and Phonograms Treaty, an allied agreement.
Countries signing the treaties have to provide the creators with a basic framework of rights, allowing them to control and be compensated for the use of their creations by others. The treaties ensure that right holders will be effectively protected when their works are disseminated over the Internet.
"At a European level, the battle between the Anglo-American system and the continental authors' rights system, which favors creators' interests, has been decided in favor of the creators," said Aidan White, "we want the same recognition at international level."
The IFJ has launched a worldwide campaign "Authors' Rights for All" which gathers best practices from all over the world and informs authors (especially journalists) about their rights.