The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has approved Jersey's entry into International Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Act 1971), more frequently referred to as simply, the Berne Convention.  This will come into effect in January 2014.

The Berne Convention is the main copyright convention.  It was first agreed in 1886 and has been amended a number of times since then.  The convention allows for copyright protection without any formalities, such as registration.  In addition, the convention establishes the principle of mutual international recognition of copyright protection and enforcement by parties.

This is a major step forward for Jersey in the fast-paced field of intellectual property (IP) and is a consequence of the Intellectual Property (Unregistered Rights) Jersey Law 2011 (the Law).  Examples of unregistered rights include: rights in literary, dramatic, musical, cinematographic and artistic works.  The Law modernised Jersey's legislation in respect of unregistered IP, bringing it in line with that of many other jurisdictions.

Prior to the Law, Jersey had been unable to ratify the Berne Convention because its legislation had been surpassed by that of the UK and European Union.  In drafting the Law, Jersey's Ministry of Economic Development saw it as vital that the international conventions recognising and simplifying enforcement of copyright were extended to or ratified in Jersey. Since the introduction of the Law in December 2012, UKIPO has been working towards the requirements for the entry of Jersey into the Berne Convention.

The Intellectual Property (Unregistered Rights) (Works of Foreign Provenance) (Jersey) Order 2012 supplements provisions in the Law setting out how the rights in the new Law apply to material having its origin in other countries.  Protection for relevant material from other Berne Convention countries is an essential requirement for convention membership.  The convention membership Jersey has achieved will ensure relevant material, which has its origin in Jersey, will be exposed to no gaps in protection in other convention countries.

Opportunities arising from the development of Jersey's intellectual property laws, particularly when linked to the digital sector, are seen as potentially a major contributor to Jersey's economy in the future.

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