Glossary created by Berkman Center team

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WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organization.

According to its website, WIPO "is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest. WIPO was established by the WIPO Convention in 1967 with a mandate from its Member States to promote the protection of IP throughout the world through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. The Director General is Francis Gurry. WIPO administers 24 different treaties, including the WIPO Convention, thirteen of which are intellectual property treaties.

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WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)

A WIPO treaty that came into effect in 2002, explicitly addressing the rights of performers and producers of sound recordings.

WIPO's website states that:

“The Treaty deals with intellectual property rights of two kinds of beneficiaries: (i) performers (actors, singers, musicians, etc.), and (ii) producers of phonograms (the persons or legal entities who or which take the initiative and have the responsibility for the fixation of the sounds).

They are dealt with in the same instrument because most of the rights granted by the Treaty to performers are rights connected with their fixed, purely aural performances (which are the subject matter of phonograms).

As far as performers are concerned, the Treaty grants performers four kinds of economic rights in their performances fixed in phonograms (not in audiovisual fixations, such as motion pictures): (i) the right of reproduction, (ii) the right of distribution, (iii) the right of rental, and (iv) the right of making available."

See also:

  • Fixation
  • Rights

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Work For Hire

A creative work that the creator has made at someone else’s request, usually for pay.

Work for hire is a concept from U.S. copyright law, and exists in a few others as well. For example, if a person commissions a sculpture from an artist, and provides very specific requirements as to materials and appearance, the sculpture will probably be a work for hire, although the ultimate determination is fact specific.

The concept serves to clear up any confusion that might result when an employee creates a copyrightable work in the course of their employment. Under the “works made for hire” doctrine, the employer holds the copyright in such a situation.

It is this doctrine that ensures that, for example, the hundreds of people who work on the production of a motion picture do not have any claim to the copyright.

However, the nature of the employer/employee relationship can be complex and difficult to define, especially when it exists only for the duration of the work’s creation, or the work is created in an educational context.

Further complicating things, since the Berne Convention separately recognizes economic and moral rights, even a creator who has made a work for hire may still possess moral rights in that work.

See also:

  • Neighboring Rights
  • Transferability of Rights
  • Academic Exception

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WTO – World Trade Organization

The WTO is an organization devoted to the rules of international trade.

According to its website, the WTO's "main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible."

The WTO is responsible for, among other things, the TRIPS agreement, which was the first time and place that copyright issues became a focus of an international trade agreement.

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