World Intellectual Property Organization

Further Useful Tips for Your SME as a Copyright Owner

How do I obtain international protection for my works? If the country of which you are a national or a resident has ratified the international conventions in the field of copyright and related rights administered by WIPO, such as the Berne Convention, or is a member of the World Trade Organization and has implemented its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement, or if you have published your work for the first time or at least simultaneously in one of the above countries, your work protected by copyright will benefit from automatic protection in a large number of countries. If this is not the case, there may still be some reciprocal agreements between your country and some foreign countries that provide similar rights.

How should I license my works? If you wish to license your work to users such as broadcasters, publishers, or even entertainment establishments of any kind, ranging from bars to nightclubs, joining a collective management society may be a good option. Collective management organizations monitor uses of works on behalf of creators and are in charge of negotiating licenses and collecting remuneration. They are particularly common in the field of musical and literary works where there may be a large number of users of the same work and it would be difficult both for the owner of rights and the users to seek specific authorization for every single use and to monitor them. Where collective management societies are not available, license agreements need to be negotiated individually with the licensee. Expert advice may be useful for obtaining advantageous terms in the licensing contract.

How should I enforce my rights? The creator of a work has the right to allow or to prohibit the use of his work. If you discover anybody using your copyright works without authorization you may enforce your rights administratively and in the courts. In many countries, so-called border measures to prevent the importation of pirated copyright goods are also available. Expert advice by an IP agent or attorney, the Copyright Office or the customs authorities would be crucial whenever you discover that your works are being infringed (also see "What Should Your SME do to Resolve Disputes Related to Intellectual Property?"). Some works such as software products phonograms and audiovisual works may include technological measures of protection (e.g. encryptions, conditional access systems) to safeguard them from unlicensed use. Such systems are means by which right owners may limit access to those customers who accept certain conditions for the use of works and the payment to be made for such use.

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