The Government of India acceded to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty on September 25, 2018. The Union Cabinet had approved the proposal submitted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry regarding accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty (“WCT”) and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty (“WPPT”) in July 2018. Both treaties were concluded in 1996 and entered into force in 2002 and extend coverage of copyright law to protection of works and rights of their authors in the digital environment and therefore also known as the ‘Internet Treaties’. The accession is in-line with the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on May 12, 2016.
The WCT accepts computer programs and compilations of data or other material as intellectual creations. It confers rights of distribution, rental and broader right of communication on the owners of such works.
The WPPT grants performers (such as actors, singers, musicians, etc.) and producers of phonograms (persons or legal entities that take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of sounds) rights in the digital environment, such as:
The accession will benefit copyright owners in digital era provided that Indian Intellectual Property laws are amended and tailor-fitted such that the treaty law functions cogently alongside the municipal law and to add to the intellectual property practice in India.
The WCT and WPPT will enter into force, with respect to the Republic of India, on December 25, 2018.