World Intellectual Property Organization

E-Commerce and Copyright

The emergence of new digital information technologies, such as the Internet, has had a significant impact on copyright and related rights, and the copyright industries such as music, film and software throughout the world.

The international copyright laws have been updated for the digital age through the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), collectively known as the "WIPO Internet Treaties" and the ongoing work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, in the field of protection of audiovisual performers and broadcasting organizations.

The WIPO Digital Agenda sets out a series of guidelines and goals for WIPO in seeking to develop practical solutions to the challenges raised by the impact of new technologies on intellectual property rights. In the field of copyright, these include issues such as promotion of the WCT and WPPT, the facilitation of ecommerce through protection of audiovisual performances and adaption of broadcasters' rights to the digital era, principles for liability of online service providers, and an appropriate framework for developing business models for the exploitation of copyright in a digital environment.

WIPO has published a report - Intellectual Property on the Internet: A Survey of Issues - that describes the impact of the digital technologies on intellectual property and, in particular, on copyright and the international intellectual property system. It can be downloaded freely, or purchased from the WIPO Electronic Bookshop.

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