WIPO Copyright Treaty

What Does WIPO Copyright Treaty Mean?

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement enacted by a consensus of over 100 member states of the European Union (EU). Adopted in Geneva, Switzerland on December 20, 1996, WCT supplements the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) and the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (Rome Convention). At that time, the Berne and Rome Convention had not been modified for 25 years.


WCT was created to address changes in digital technology and communications, particularly the distribution of digitally protected works over the Internet. Known as the "Internet treaties," WCT was enacted along with the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) to respond to new marketplace and technology developments.

Techopedia Explains WIPO Copyright Treaty

Like WPPT, WCT was created to update WIPO copyright treaties and regulations, primarily with the rapidly evolving development of new markets, distribution, methods of use and types of works.

WCT provides several key updates, including:

  • Protects computer programs as literary works per Article 2 of the Berne Convention.
  • Protects data compilations created as intellectual property in any form. This protection does not extend to actual data.
  • Stipulates that licensees must provide adequate legal remedies against anyone who knowingly enables or facilitates any type of copyright infringement related to unauthorized electronic rights management, distribution, broadcasting or communication.

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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…