Copyright is not only exploited at national level. Books and other copyrighted works are translated into many languages, or distributed in a number of countries. If copyright regimes differ too much from one country to another, creators lose out: For this reason, the drafting of international copyright treaties has always been a focal area of international conventions and organisations. Such treaties recognise that each country will have its own set of copyright laws. They do, however, lay down certain minimum standards as a basis for national laws, and secure protection under these laws for works of foreign creators, or works created abroad.

The main copyright treaties of relevance for book and journal publishers today are:

1. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation WIPO, and counting more than 155 contracting parties;

2. TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), administered by WTO, counting more than 140 members;

3. WIPO Copyright Treaty, administered by WIPO and counting approx. 60 contracting parties;

4. Universal Copyright Convention, administered by UNESCO and counting more than 60 contracting parties.

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