Universal Copyright Convention

The Universal Copyright Convention, (1952), was adopted in Geneva by an international conference convened under the auspices of UNESCO, which had been conferring with copyright experts from various countries for some years. The convention became effective in 1955.

Its primary characteristics are as follows:

(1) No signatory nation should provide its local authors preferential copyright treatment over authors from other signatory nations, however, no minimum protection is specified for either domestic or foreign authors;

(2) A formal copyright notice, consisting of the symbol, the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication, must appear in all copies of a work; a signatory nation, however, may impose additional formalities, provided that such formalities do not favour domestic over international works.

(3) In member nations, the minimum term of copyright must be the author’s life plus 25 years (except for photographic works and works of applied art, which have a 10-year term);

(4) all adhering nations must grant an exclusive right of translation for seven years, subject to a compulsory licence under certain circumstances for the balance of the term of copyright.

History of the UCC

Adopted in 1952, the Universal Copyright Convention is now one of the most important international treaties for preserving copyrights worldwide. It began as a UNESCO project as an alternative to the Berne Convention.

Some countries disagreed with some clauses in the Berne Convention and refused to sign up for the Berne Convention’s terms. The United States, for example, at the time only protected on a fixed term registration basis through the Library Of Congress and mandated that copyright works always display the emblem. This meant that the United States would have to amend its laws to comply with the Berne Convention. The United States ultimately signed up to the Berne Convention on March 1, 1989, and currently only requires registration for work originally published in the United States by US residents.

The UCC assured that authors would have worldwide protection even if their country did not join the Berne Convention. Berne Convention countries also signed the UCC to ensure that citizens’ work in Berne Convention countries was protected in non-Berne Convention countries.

The Universal Copyright Convention is no longer relevant because most nations have joined the Berne Convention Union.

To avoid a conflict with the Berne Convention, Article 17 of the UCC states that the convention does not affect any provision of the Berne Convention, and the appendix declaration to the article states that any country that withdraws from the Berne Convention after January 1, 1951, will not be protected by the UCC in countries of the Berne Convention Union.

This effectively gave the Berne Convention primacy and penalises any country that abandons the Berne Convention to accept the UCC.

Purpose of the UCC

The Universal Copyright Convention was established as an alternative to the Berne Convention to accomplish the following goals:

• Ensure that additional countries join the international copyright community;

• Be more flexible and easier to comply with than the Berne Convention; and

 • Make compliance easier for developing countries.

Features of the UCC

These are the main characteristics of the UCC.

1. National Treatment: As opposed to automatic protection, the UCC adheres to the notion of national treatment.

This effectively means that contracting countries are not required to provide automatic protection to international workers if national requirements are not followed.

2. The duration of the Work: The UCC protects original literary, artistic, and scientific works. To provide reasonable notice of the copyright claim, a copyright notice must be put beside the work. The provisions of the UCC safeguard a work during the author’s lifetime and for 25 years after the author’s death.

3.Minimum Rights: The UCC requires contracting countries to offer a set of “minimum rights” to the lawful owner of the work, as long as they do not conflict with the “spirit” of the convention.






Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.


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The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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