10 July 2020

The Kingdom of Cambodia’s National Assembly officially ratifies the oldest copyright treaty – the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

On 2 July 2020, the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia officially ratified another Intellectual Property international framework, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works dated 9 September 1886 and its amendment in 1979 (“the Convention”). This Convention is the oldest international copyright treaty, granting a high level of protection and comprehensive set of rights to authors. The creators protected under the Convention include, but are not limited to authors, musicians, poets and painters.

This newly ratified Convention mainly aims to protect the works and rights of the authors based on three basic principles and sets forth a series of provisions on the minimum standards of protection. The three basic principles comprise the following:

  • Principle of National Treatment;
  • Principle of Automatic Protection; and
  • Principle of Independence of Protection.

In addition, it is important to note that the Convention provides special provisions for developing countries. Pursuant to such special provisions, Cambodia as a developing country can enjoy non-voluntary licenses for translation and reproduction of works in cases which relate to educational activities.

Notwithstanding the above mentioned protection on creator’s works, some prescribed uses without the authorisation of the right holder(s) are legally permitted. The Convention respects the domestic legislation of its member countries by allowing the reproduction of works in certain special cases as long as such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not prejudice the legitimate interests of the creator. These “free-use” of protected works also embrace the work for the purpose of teaching as well as reproduction of newspaper or similar articles and related works for the purpose of reporting current events.

As it currently stands and owing to the country’s binding obligation, the Royal Government of Cambodia will take necessary steps to ensure the implementation will take place according to the Convention. In this sense, it is highly anticipated that a new law or regulation in relation to the Convention will be issued in the near future.

If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Khieu Mealy or Chhim Leakena of SokSiphana&associates (a member of ZICO Law).

This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.


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