On July 4, 2018, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal submitted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry to accede to the WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as “WCT”) and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as “WPPT”) which extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.

Becoming a member of WIPO in 1975 and complying to a number of treaties administered by WIPO, India has not become a party to either of the Internet Treaties till date. The treaties will become binding upon India once the Instrument of Accession is deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY, 1996

WCT came in force on March 6, 2002 and has been adopted by 96 contracting parties till date and is a special agreement under Berne Convention (for protection of literary and artistic works). It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment. Further it recognizes the rights specific to digital environment, of making work available, to address "on-demand" and other interactive modes of access,

WIPO PERFORMANCES AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY, 1996

WPPT came in force on May 20, 2002 and has 96 contracting parties as its members. WPPT deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in digital environment:

  1. Performers (actors, singers, musicians etc.)
  2. Producers of Phonograms (Sound recordings)

The treaty empowers right owners in negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors. It recognizes moral rights of the performers for the first time & provides exclusive economic rights to them.

BENEFITS OF WCT & WPPT TO INDIA:

  1. To enable creative right-holders enjoy the right of their labor, through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works;
  2. To facilitate international protection of domestic rights holder by providing them level-playing field in other countries as India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and these treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad;
  3. To instill confidence and distribute creative works in digital environment with return on investment; and
  4. To spur business growth and contribute to the development of a vibrant creative economy and cultural landscape.