Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berlin Act, 1908)
This edition published in The Copyright Act, 1911 (UK).
The Contracting States are constituted into an Union for the protection of the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works.
The expression "literary and artistic works" shall include any production in the literary, scientific or artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its reproduction, such as books, pamphlets, and other writings; dramatic or dramatico-musical works, choreographic works and pantomimes, the acting form of which is fixed in writing or otherwise; musical compositions with or without words; works of design, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography; illustrations, geographical charts; plans, sketches, and plastic works relative to geography, topography, architecture or science .
Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other reproductions in an altered form of a literary or artistic work as well as collections of different works, shall be protected as original works without prejudice to the rights of the author of the original work.
The contracting countries shall bound to make provision for the protection of the above-mentioned Works.
Works of art applied to industrial purposes shall be protected so far as the domestic legislation of each country allows.
The present Convention shall apply to photographic works and to works produced by a process analogous to photography. The contracting countries shall be bound to make provision for their protection.
Authors who are subjects or citizens of any of the countries of the Union shall enjoy in countries other than the country of origin of the work, for their works, whether unpublished or first published in a country of the Union, the rights which the respective law’s do now or may hereafter grant to natives as well as the rights specially granted by the present Convention.
The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to the performance of any formality; such enjoyment and such exercise are independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the express stipulations of the present Convention, the extent of protection, as well as the means of redress secured to the author to safeguard his rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is claimed.
The country of origin of the work shall be considered to be: in the case of unpublished works, the country to which the author belongs; in the case of published works, the country of first publication; and in the case of works published simultaneously in several countries of the Union, the country the laws of which grant the shortest period of protection. In the case of works published simultaneously in a country outside the Union and in a country of the Union: the latter country shall be considered exclusively as the country of origin.
By published works must be understood, for the purposes of the present Convention, works copies of which are issued by a publisher. The representation of a dramatic or dramatico-musical work, the performance of a musical work, the exhibition of a work of art, and the construction of a work of architecture shall not constitute a publication.
Authors being subjects or citizens of one of the countries of the Union who first publish their works in another country of the Union shall have in this latter country the same rights as native authors.
Authors not being subjects or citizens of one of the countries of the Union, who first publish their works in one of those countries, shall enjoy in that country the same rights as native authors, and in the other countries of the Union the rights granted by the present Convention.
The term of protection granted by the present Convention shall include the life of the author and fifty years after his death.
Nevertheless, in case such term of protection should not be uniformly adopted by all the countries of the Union, the term shall be regulated by the law of the country where protection is claimed, and must not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the work. Consequently the contracting countries shall only be bound to apply the provisions of the preceding paragraph in so far as such provisions are consistent with their domestic laws.
For photographic works and works produced by a process analogous to photography, for posthumous works, for anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection shall be regulated by the law of the country where protection is claimed, provided that the said term shall not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the work.
The authors of unpublished works, being subjects or citizens of one of the countries of the Union, and the authors of works first published in one of those countries shall enjoy, in the other countries of the Union, during the whole term of the right in the original work, the exclusive right of making or authorizing a translation of their works.
Serial stories, tales, and all other works, whether literary, scientific, or artistic, whatever their object published in the newspapers or periodicals of one of the countries of the Union may not be reproduced in the other countries without the consent of the authors.
With the exception of serial stories and tales, any newspaper article may be reproduced by another newspaper unless the reproduction thereof is expressly forbidden. Nevertheless, the source must be indicated; the legal consequences of the breach of this obligation shall be determined by the laws of the country where protection is claimed.
The protection of the present Convention shall not apply to news of the day or to miscellaneous information which is simply of the nature of items of news.
As regards the liberty of extracting portions from literary or artistic works for use in publications destined for educational purposes, or having a scientific character, or for chrestomathies (selections of choice passages from an author or authors), the effect of the legislation of each country of the Union and of special Arrangements existing or to be concluded, between them is not affected by the present Convention.
The stipulations of the present Convention shall apply to the public representation of dramatic or dramatico-musical works and to the public performance of musical works, whether such works be published or not .
Authors of dramatic or dramatico-musical works shall be protected during the existence of their right over the original work against the unauthorized public representation of translations of their works.
In order to enjoy the protection of the present Article, authors shall not be bound in publishing their works to forbid the public representation or performance thereof.
The following shall be specially included among the unlawful reproductions to which the present Convention applies: Unauthorized indirect appropriations of a literary or artistic work, such as adaptations, musical arrangements, transformations of a novel, tale, or piece of poetry into a dramatic piece and vice versa, &c., when they are only the reproduction of that work, in the same form or in another form, without essential alterations, additions, or abridgments, and do not present the character of a new original work.
The authors of musical works shall have the exclusive right of authorizing (1) the adaptation of those works to instruments which can reproduce them mechanically; (2) the public performance of the said works by means of these instruments.
Reservations and conditions relating to the application of this Article may be determined by the domestic legislation of each country in so far as it is concerned; but the effect, of any such reservations and conditions will be strictly limited to the country which has put them in force.
The provisions of paragraph 1 shall not be retroactive, and consequently shall not be applicable in any country of the Union to works which have been lawfully adapted in that country to mechanical instruments before the coming into force of the present Convention.
Adaptations made in virtue of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the present Article, and imported without the authority of the interested parties into a country where they would not be lawful, shall be liable to seizure in that country.
Authors of literary, scientific or artistic works shall have the exclusive right of authorizing the reproduction and public representation of their works by cinematography.
Cinematograph productions shall be protected as literary or artistic works if, by the arrangement of the acting form or the combinations of the incidents represented, the author has given the work a personal and original character.
Without prejudice to the rights of the author of the original work the reproduction by cinematography of a literary, scientific or artistic work shall be protected as an original work.
The above provisions apply to reproduction or production effected by any other process analogous to cinematography.
In order that the authors of works protected by the present Convention shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered as such, and be consequently admitted to institute proceedings against pirates before the Courts of the various countries of the Union, it will be sufficient that their name be indicated on the work in the accustomed manner.
For anonymous or pseudonymous works the publisher, whose name is indicated on the work, shall be entitled to protect the rights belonging to the author. He shall be, without other proof, deemed to be the legal representative of the anonymous or pseudonymous author.
Pirated works may be seized by the competent authorities of any country of the Union where the original work enjoys legal protection.
In such a country the seizure may also apply to reproductions imported from a country where the work is not protected, or has ceased to be protected.
The seizure shall take place in accordance with the domestic legislation of each country.
The provisions of the present Convention cannot in any way derogate from the right belonging to the Government of each country of the Union to permit, to control, or to prohibit, by measures of domestic legislation or police, the circulation, representation, or exhibition of any works or productions in regard to which the competent authority may find it necessary to exercise that right.
The present Convention shall apply to all works which at the moment of its coming into force have not yet fallen into the public domain in the country of origin through the expiration of the term of protection.
If, however, through the expiration of the term of protection which was previously granted, a work has fallen into the public domain of the country where protection is claimed, that work shall not be protected anew in that country.
The application of this principle shall take effect according to the stipulations contained in special Conventions existing, or to be concluded, to that effect between countries of the Union. In the absence of such stipulations, the respective countries shall regulate, each in so far as it is concerned, the manner in which the said principle is to be applied.
The above provisions shall apply equally in case of new accessions to the Union, and also in the event of the term of protection being extended by the application of Article 7.
The provisions of the present Convention shall not prevent a claim being made for the application of any wider provisions which may be made by the legislation of a country of the Union in favour of foreigners in general.
The Governments of the countries of the Union reserve to themselves the right to enter into special arrangements between each other, provided always that such arrangements confer upon authors more extended rights than those granted by the Union, or embody other stipulations not contrary to the present Convention. The provisions of existing arrangements which answer to the above-mentioned conditions shall remain applicable.
The International Office established under the name of the "Office of the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works" shall be maintained.
That office is placed under the high authority of the Government of the Swiss Confederation, which regulates its organization and supervises its working.
The official language of the Office shall be French.
The International Office collects every kind of information relative to the protection of the rights of authors over their literary and artistic works. It arranges and publishes such information. It undertakes the study of questions of general interest concerning the Union, and by the aid of documents placed at its disposal by the different Administrations, edits a periodical publication in the French language on the questions which concern the objects of the Union. The Governments of the countries of the Union reserve to themselves the power to authorize by common accord the publication by the Office of an edition in one or more other languages, if experience should show this to be requisite.
The International Office will always hold itself at the disposal of members of the Union with the view to furnish them with any special information which they may require relative to the protection of literary and artistic works.
The Director of the International Office shall make an annual report on his administration, which shall be communicated to all the members of the Union.
The expenses of the Office of the International Union shall be shared by the contracting countries. Until a fresh decision is arrived at, they cannot exceed the sum of 60,000 fr. a year. This sum may be increased, if necessary, by the simple decision of one of the Conferences provided for in Article 24.
The share of the total expense to be paid by each country shall be determined by the division of the contracting and acceding countries into six classes, each of which shall contribute in the proportion of a certain number of units, viz. : —
1st class 25 units.
2nd „ 20 „
3rd „ 15 „
4th „ 10 „
5th „ 5 „
6th „ 3 „
These coefficients are multiplied by the number of countries of each class, and the total product thus obtained gives the number of units by which the total expense is to be divided. The quotient gives the amount of the unit of expense.
Each country shall declare, at the time of its accession, in which of the said classes it desires to be placed.
The Swiss Administration prepares the Budget of the Office, superintends its expenditure, makes the necessary advances, and draws up the annual account which will be communicated to all the other Administrations.
The present Convention may be submitted to revisions in order to introduce therein amendments calculated to perfect the system of the Union.
Questions of this kind, as well as those which are of interest to the Union in other respects, shall be considered in Conferences to be held successively in the countries of the Union by delegates of the said countries. The Adminis- tration of the country where a Conference is to meet prepares, with the assistance of the International Office, the work of the Conference. The Director of the Office shall attend at the sittings of the Conferences, and shall take part in the discussions without the right to vote.
No alteration in the present Convention shall be binding on the Union except by the unanimous consent of the countries composing it.
States outside the Union which make provision for the legal protection of rights forming the object of the present Convention may accede thereto on request to that effect.
Such accession shall be notified in writing to the Government of the Swiss Confederation, who will communicate it to all the other countries of the Union.
Such accession shall imply full adhesion to all the clauses and admission to all the advantages provided by the present Convention. It may, nevertheless, contain an indication of the provisions of the Convention of the 9th September, 1886, or of the Additional Act of the 4th May, 1896, which they may judge necessary to substitute, provisionally at least, for the corresponding provisions of the present Convention.
Contracting countries shall have the right to accede to the present Convention at any time for their Colonies or foreign possessions.
They may do this either by a general Declaration comprising in the accession all their Colonies or possessions, or by specially naming those comprised therein, or by simply indicating those which are excluded.
Such Declaration shall be notified in writing to the Government of the Swiss Confederation, who will communicate it to all the other countries of the Union.
The present Convention shall replace, in regard to the relations between the Contracting States, the Convention of Berne of the 9th September, 1886, including the Additional Article and the Final Protocol of the same date, as well as the Additional Act and the Interpretative Declaration of the 4th May, 1896. These instruments shall remain in force in regard to relations with States which do not ratify the present Convention.
The Signatory States of the present Convention may declare at the exchange of ratifications that they desire to remain bound, as regards any specific point, by the provisions of the Conventions which they have previously signed.
The present Convention shall be ratified, and the ratifications exchanged at Berlin not later than the 1st July, 1910.
Each Contracting Party shall, as regards the exchange of ratifications, deliver a single instrument, which shall be deposited with those of the other countries in the archives of the Government of the Swiss Confederation. Each Party shall receive in return a copy of the procès-verbal of the exchange of ratifications signed by the Plenipotentiaries who took part.
The present Convention shall be put in force three months after the exchange of ratifications, and shall remain in force for an indefinite period until the termination of a year from the day on which it may have been denounced.
Such denunciation shall be made to the Government of the Swiss Confederation. It shall only take effect in regard to the country which made it, the Convention remaining in full force and effect for the other countries of the Union.
The States which shall introduce in their legislation the duration of protection for fifty years contemplated by Article 7, first paragraph, of the present Convention, shall give notice thereof in writing to the Government of the Swiss Confederation, who will communicate it at once to all the other States of the Union.
The same procedure shall be followed in the case of the States renouncing the reservations made by them in virtue of Articles 25, 26, and 27.
In faith whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention, and have affixed thereto their seals.
Done at Berlin, the 13th day of November, 1908, in a single copy, which shall be deposited in the archives of the Government of the Swiss Confederation, and of which duly certified copies shall be transmitted by the diplomatic channel to the contracting countries.
(l.s.) Dr. K. Von Studt.
(l.s.) Von Koerner.
(l.s.) Goebel Von Harrant.
(l.s.) Josef Kohler.
(l.s.) Count Della Faille de Leverghem.
(l.s.) Jules de Borchgrave.
(l.s.) J. Hegermann Lindencrone.
(l.s.) Luis Polo de Bernabé.
(l.s.) Eugenio Ferraz.
(l.s.) Jules Cambon.
(l.s.) E. Lavisse.
(l.s.) Paul Hervieu.
(l.s.) L. Renault.
(l.s.) G. Breton.
(l.s.) Georges Lecomte.
For Great Britain:
(l.s.) H. G. Bergne.
(l.s.) George R. Askwith.
(l.s.) J. De Salis.
(l.s.) Luigi Eoux.
(l.s.) Samuele Ottolenghi.
(l.s.) Emilio Venezian.
(l.s.) Avv. Augusto Ferrari.
(l.s.) Mizuno Rentaro.
(l.s.) Horiguchi Kumaichi.
For the Liberian Republic:
(l.s.) Von Koerner.
(l.s.) Count De Villers.
(l.s.) Baron De Rolland.
(l.s.) Klaus Hoel.
(l.s.) P. M. Af Ugglas.
(l.s.) Alfred Von Claparède.
(l.s.) W. Kraft.
(l.s.) Jean Gout.