Monday 10 June 2013

The Berne Convention in the modern age, with Spanish legal principles as a point of reference

In the tumultuous times currently faced by copyright, the best thing to do is to go back and look for handholds at the source from which considerable rivers, tributaries and springs flowed for authors.  At a time when scientific knowledge seems to be limited to the microscopic boundaries of a 140-character “tweet” or confined to a post in a topical blog, it will be good to take our hats off to genuine scientific contributions.                  

A group of Spanish professors and experts in the field of copyright, led by the master Rodrigo Bercovitz, has just published a commentary of almost 1700 pages on the Berne Convention entitled Comentarios al Convenio de Berna which analyses, provision by provision, the intricacies of this key document in the history of copyright protection.        

The extreme importance of this Convention was consolidated by the tribute paid to it by the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement, among the tributes paid by many other international and Community initiatives. The WTO decided to adopt Berne as a legal reference framework for all countries.         

International legal doctrine did not, however, rise to the occasion.  Notwithstanding a number of isolated contributions, there did not seem to be any specific work that did justice to the magnitude of Berne’s contribution.  This void has now been filled as a result of this book with Spanish roots.                                                                                                          

Comentarios, published by Tecnos, contains the work of up to 15 university scholars, such as  Pilar Cámara, Ignacio Garrote, José Carlos Erdozaín, Nazareth Pérez de Castro and Rafael Sánchez Aristi, all of whom have proven experience in the field of copyright. It is cause for satisfaction that one of the contributing authors is the Doctor of Laws Patricia Mariscal Garrido Falla, a lawyer at ELZABURU, who provided commentaries on two of the articles of the Convention.                                       

In times of tribulations and uncertainty, it cannot hurt to utter a “long live the Berne Convention"  and delve into this transcendental study in order to find out where we came from and also to figure out where we want to go under expert guidance.

Author: Antonio Castán

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