WCT Enters into force

Geneva, March 6, 2002
Press Releases PR/2002/304

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT), one of two key treaties that will bring copyright law in line with the digital age, entered into force on March 6, 2002. The second of these so-called "Internet treaties", the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), enters into force on May 20, 2002. The treaties lay down the legal groundwork to safeguard the interests of creators in cyberspace and open new horizons for composers, artists, writers and others to use the Internet with confidence to create, distribute and control the use of their works within the digital environment.

The Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris, welcomed this important development in the history of copyright law. He emphasized the importance of the new norms provided for in the WCT and the WPPT which, he said, are vital for the further development of the Internet, electronic commerce and thereby the culture and information industries. The treaties were agreed in 1996 and become law three months after they are ratified by 30 states. Gabon became the 30th country to join the WCT last December. Honduras became the 30th state to join the WPPT on February 20, 2002.

To be truly effective, the Director General stressed, the treaties must become widely adopted by countries in all regions of the world. "While we have reached the key number of 30 countries required for entry into force, I urge all other countries to follow suit and to incorporate the provisions of the WCT and WPPT into their national legislation. This will create the conditions necessary for the broad-based and legitimate distribution of creative works and recordings on the Internet," he said.

For more information about the WCT, please consult PR/300/2001 or contact the Media Relations & Public Affairs Section at WIPO: