Summary of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms (1971)

The Phonograms or Geneva Convention provides for the obligation of each Contracting State to protect a producer of phonograms who is a national of another Contracting State against the making of duplicates without that producer's consent; against the importation of such duplicates, where the making or importation is for the purpose of distribution to the public; and against the distribution of such duplicates to the public. "Phonogram" means an exclusively aural fixation (that is, it does not comprise, for example, the sound tracks of films or videocassettes), whatever its form (disc, tape, etc.). Protection may be provided under copyright law, sui generis (related rights) law, unfair competition law or penal law. Protection must last for at least 20 years from the date of first fixation or the first publication of the phonogram. (However, national laws increasingly provide for a 50-year term of protection.) The Convention permits the same limitations as those provided in relation to the protection of authors. It allows non-voluntary licenses if reproduction is intended exclusively for teaching or scientific research, limited to the territory of the State whose authorities give the license, and if equitable remuneration is provided (Article 6).

WIPO is responsible, jointly with the ILO and UNESCO, for the administration of this Convention.

The Convention does not provide for the institution of a Union, governing body or budget.

The Convention is open to any State member of the United Nations or of any of the agencies belonging to the United Nations system of organizations. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession must be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.