News of Jersey's recent membership of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, has been confirmed by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The Berne Convention is the most widely recognised copyright convention and was ratified by the UK in 1886. Jersey's membership will come into effect in January 2014.

The Berne Convention requires its members to recognise the copyright of works of individuals from other member countries the same way that it recognises its own nationals works, and provides for copyright protection without any formalities, such as registration. This is good news for Jersey in the fast developing world of intellectual property, as it ensures automatic copyright protection of artistic works originally created in Jersey in most parts of the world.

Jersey's membership comes as a consequence of updating Jersey's century old copyright law and the subsequent enactment of the Intellectual Property (Unregistered Rights) Jersey Law 2011 (the Law), which protects unregistered rights in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. The UKIPO has been working towards Jersey's membership of the Berne Convention since the implementation of the Law in late 2012. The Law, along with membership of the Berne Convention, provides individuals with the certainty that any works originating in Jersey will receive the same copyright protection given internationally. Prior to the Law, Jersey was unable to ratify the Berne Convention as its legislation was outdated.

The Law is supported by an Order that came into force in 2012 which provides users with guidance on how the rights contained in the Law apply to works originating in other jurisdictions, protection of which was a definite requirement for membership of the Berne Convention. Membership of the Berne Convention is reciprocal, in that it will ensure works originating in Jersey will afford the same protection in other convention countries as it does at home.

The modernisation of the Intellectual Property law in Jersey along with membership of the Berne Convention has provided an international framework when making decisions about where to locate and invest in creative works, and also assists in diversifying Jersey's economy for the future.

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