Special Conventions in the Field of Related Rights

The Rome Convention of 1961 is a fundamental legal instrument. Two other international instruments have been drawn up with regard to certain related rights. Convention for the protection of producers of phonogram against unauthorized duplication of their phonogram concluded in Geneva in October 1971 and usually referred to as The Phonogram Convention. The convention relating to the distribution of programme-carrying signals transmitted by satellite concluded in Brussels in May 1974 and known briefly as The Satellites Convention. These two Conventions are also within the area of related rights as well as their purpose is to guard producers of phonogram and broadcasting organizations correspondingly against certain prejudicial acts that have been extensively recognized as infringements or acts of piracy.

The Phonogram Convention as well as the Satellites Convention may be regarded as extraordinary agreements. The reason for the rapid acceptance of the Phonogram Convention is due to the accelerating increase in worldwide piracy during the last two decades and to the legal characteristics of the Convention itself. While a number of countries were preparing new legislation in the field of related rights in view of the standards set by the Rome Convention, global piracy of sound recordings was growing. The total value of pirated sound recordings sold worldwide has been increasing progressively. This made it compulsory to set up an extraordinary convention without delay. The subject was raised in May 1970 in the Preparatory Committee for the revision of the two chief copyright conventions. The new Convention was signed in Geneva after less than 18 months.

The Phonogram Convention takes into account all the measures that had previously been adopted in a variety of national laws as well as allows for the application of all of them instead of requiring a uniform solution. It provides for the granting to producers of phonogram the right to approve or forbid the reproduction of their phonogram. Amendments of existing national laws became mostly unnecessary to States which already protected producers of phonogram by some other means as well as wanted to extend this kind of protection also at the international level. The Satellites Convention was adopted because the use of satellites in worldwide telecommunications has been presenting a new problem for the protection of broadcasting organizations. The transmission of programs by satellite still takes place mainly indirectly. Electronic signals carrying broadcast programs pass through a satellite to make remote parts of the globe that cannot be reached by customary broadcasting. The programme-carrying signals passed on by the satellite cannot be picked up directly by conventional receivers usually used by the public at large.

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