A United Nation treaty bringing world copyright law into the digital age by protecting authors on the Internet goes into effect Wednesday. The treaty is viewed as an important step toward stamping out piracy on the Internet.
The U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization says the copyright treaty updates existing laws protecting literary and artistic works and goes one step further by defining what is legally protected material on the Internet.
It covers written materials such as articles and books, as well as computer programs, music, art and movies. So far, 34 countries have adopted the treaty.
A second, companion treaty protects the rights of recording artists and producers. It goes into effect in May.
Jorgen Blomqvist directs copyright law at WIPO. He says the challenges posed by rapid technological changes make it ever more necessary for countries to adopt these treaties to protect the rights of artists worldwide.
"There is no magic in this world," he said. "There is no one step that can solve the problems that the Internet has caused for copyright and protected works in one go. There is no single means through which you can eliminate all the pirated copies you find on market stalls all over the world. Things are not that simple. This is an important step in the right direction by clarifying what should the protection be in national law."
Mr. Blomqvist says the treaties must be adopted and incorporated into national law by countries worldwide if they are to fully meet their protection goals. He says the treaties require enforcement procedures to be taken by governments against any infringements.