WIPO Copyright

WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)

International Copyright filing by WIPO

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement under the Berne Convention that deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment. Further, it recognizes the rights specific to the digital environment, of making work available, to address “on-demand” and other interactive modes of access. WCT recognizes (i) computer programs, whatever the mode or form of their expression; and (ii) compilations of data or other material (“databases”), in any form, which, by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations, as separate subject matters protectable under the copyright laws. In addition to this, apart from the rights granted to the author under the Berne Convention, the WCT also grants the following rights to the author of the work:

  • the right of distribution;
  • the right of rental; and
  • a broader right of communication to the public.


Apart from the rights recognized by Berne Convention, some other rights that are granted to the authors by the treaty are as follows:

1. The right to distribution- This right authorizes the author to make available the to the public of the original or copies of the work of the author through sale or transfer of ownership.

2.The right of rental- This right authorizes the author commercial rental of three kinds of work, i.e.-

(a) Computer programs (does not include the work where the computer program itself is not the essential object of the rental)

(b)  Cinematographic works (Only where due to commercial rental there is widespread copying of such work, materially impairing the exclusive right of reproduction)

(c) works embodied in phonograms as determined in the national law of Contracting Parties (except for countries which, since April 15, 1994, have had a system in force for equitable remuneration of such rental)

3. Right of communication to the public- This right authorizes the author to communicate his work by way of any wire or wireless means etc.


“Threestep” Test- Article 10 of WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY laid down the “Threestep” test, to determine limitations and exceptions as provided for, in Article 9(2) of Berne Convention that is applicable to all rights.

Summary of WCT- https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/wct/summary_wct.html

WIPO Copyright Treaty – https://wipolex.wipo.int/en/text/295157

Contracting Parties –https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?lang=en&treaty_id=16

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