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date: 18 August 2019


  • Peter Kleiner,
  • E.P. Skone James,
  • Gavin McFarlane
  •  and Melville B. Nimmer


The legal right in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic property.

Copyright law is at once domestic and international. In each country protection is governed by local law which affects everyone who seeks to publish, perform or broadcast a work in that country, wherever he or she is from. (Masculine pronouns alone are used from here on.) A composer whose work is used in different countries will find that the details of protection in them will not be the same. Yet his work is treated in almost every foreign country in exactly the same way as that of composers who are local citizens, or whose works were first published in the country concerned.

This arises from the structure of the international copyright conventions, whose chief effect is not to require each country to give specific protection to literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, but to give to such works, created by nationals of any member country, or first published in any member country, the same protection as is afforded to works created by nationals of the country in which protection is sought, or first published there. (There are detailed provisions for simultaneous, or nearly simultaneous, publication in several countries.) The conventions also specify various basic principles of protection, which give the copyright law of all countries certain similarities. But within these principles there is much variation, and when problems arise one should always consult a lawyer specializing in the law of the country concerned....

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