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Competing for Protection

Competing for Protection

In 1996, the international community under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) agreed two ground-breaking treaties for the digital age – the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty (WPPT) – sometimes referred to collectively as the WIPO internet treaties. These two instruments introduced some very important concepts into the realm of international copyright law, including in particular the exclusive right of ‘making available’ (i.e. the on-demand right), and technological protection measures (TPMs – such as encryption
of content).

The negotiations leading to the adoption of these instruments involved a wide range of stakeholders including rightsholders from across the content spectrum, internet service providers (ISPs), civil society groups, libraries and other user groups. Some argue that the interests of developed countries and copyright owners dominated the debate. However, the role played by ISPs and other groups was crucial to the final outcome.

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