enotar.io logo

The Berne Convention: Protection of Art and Literature

The Berne Convention shaped global copyright law, safeguarding creative works & establishing key principles for international protection.


Globalisation and the rapid advance of technology have created the need to establish systems for the protection of intellectual property at the international level. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, signed in 1886, is one of the most important international copyright treaties, establishing principles and rules for the protection of creative works worldwide. In this article we will look at the scope and importance of the Berne Convention and how it has influenced the development of copyright law around the world.

The Berne Convention: A milestone in copyright protection

The Berne Convention was adopted on 9 September 1886 in the city of Berne, Switzerland, and has been revised several times since. This treaty provides a framework for the protection of literary and artistic works, ensuring that authors from member countries receive protection in other signatory countries without having to comply with additional formal requirements.

Main features of the Berne Convention

Automatic protection

The Berne Convention provides that works by authors from member countries should receive protection in all signatory countries without the need to comply with formal requirements such as registration of the work or the inclusion of a copyright notice. Protection is granted automatically from the date of creation of the work.

Principle of national treatment

The Berne Convention ensures that authors from member countries are treated in the same way as local authors in other signatory countries. This means that an author from one member country enjoys the same copyright in another member country as local authors.

Minimum term of protection

The Berne Convention sets a minimum term for copyright protection, which is generally the life of the author plus 50 years after his or her death. However, countries can provide for longer periods of protection if they wish.

Exceptions and limitations

The Berne Convention allows member countries to provide for exceptions and limitations to copyright, provided that they do not interfere with the normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the interests of the author.

The legacy of the Berne Convention today

The Berne Convention has been ratified by more than 170 countries and remains a fundamental treaty in the field of copyright. In addition to establishing basic rules and principles, the Berne Convention has fostered international cooperation in copyright protection and has influenced the creation of other intellectual property treaties and conventions, such as the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Treaties.


The Berne Convention has played a crucial role in the development of copyright law at the international level and has laid the foundations for the protection of literary and artistic works worldwide. By guaranteeing automatic protection of works, promoting the principle of national treatment and establishing a minimum term of protection, the Berne Convention has facilitated cooperation between countries and promoted respect for and protection of copyright.

In today's digital age, where creative works can be easily distributed and shared across borders, the importance of strong, internationally harmonised copyright protection is more important than ever. The Berne Convention remains a key pillar in this area, providing a framework of protection and encouraging cooperation between countries to ensure that creators receive the recognition and protection they deserve for their works.

Photo by Louis on Pexels

Author Gabriel Espinoza

enotar.io logo

Protect your copyright & intellectual property

Digital proof of authorship