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Rome convention: Protection of related rights

The Rome Convention (1961) established international standards for protecting performers, phonogram producers, and broadcasters' rights.


The protection of copyright and related rights is essential to foster creativity and innovation in the information age. The Rome Convention of 1961, also known as the International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations, is an international treaty that sets standards for the protection of rights related to copyright. This article examines the historical context, objectives and significance of the Rome Convention.

Historical Context of the Rome Convention

The Rome Convention was adopted in Rome, Italy, on 26 October 1961. The treaty was the result of negotiations between the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The main aim of the Rome Convention was to provide international protection for performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations.

Main features of the Rome Convention

Protection of performers

The Rome Convention establishes rights for performers over their performances, including the right to authorise or prohibit the broadcasting, communication to the public and fixation of their performances.

Protection of phonogram producers

The Rome Convention gives phonogram producers the right to authorise or prohibit the reproduction, distribution and importation of their phonograms.

Protection of broadcasting organisations

The Rome Convention gives broadcasting organisations the right to authorise or prohibit the retransmission, fixation and reproduction of their broadcasts.

National treatment

The Rome Convention establishes the principle of national treatment, which means that rightholders in one member country must receive the same treatment as national rightholders in other signatory countries.

The impact of the Rome Convention today

The Rome Convention was a major breakthrough in the protection of copyright-related rights at the international level. Although ratified by only a limited number of countries, the Rome Convention has influenced the development of national legislation on related rights and laid the foundations for subsequent treaties, such as the 1996 WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).


The Rome Convention of 1961 was a decisive step in the protection of copyright-related rights at the international level. Despite its limitations in terms of adoption and scope, the Rome Convention set important precedents and contributed to the development of international legislation and treaties on related rights. In an ever-changing world, where technology and globalisation have transformed the way creative content is created, distributed and consumed, the protection of the rights of performers, phonogram producers and broadcasters remains essential.

The Rome Convention, although not the most recent treaty in the field of related rights, remains a milestone in the history of intellectual property protection and a reminder of the importance of global cooperation and harmonisation.

Today, more recent treaties such as the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) continue to address and extend the protection of copyright-related rights in the context of the digital age. However, the Rome Convention remains a historical reference and starting point for the development and evolution of international law in this area.

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Cover photo by Griffin Wooldridge on Pexels.
Image of signing of Rome Treaty in the public domain.

Author Gabriel Espinoza

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