THE ROME COPYRIGHT CONVENTION, 1928
The International Convention
for the protection of literary and artistic works signed at Berne on
the 9th September, 1886, and revised at Berlin on the 13th November,
1908, was further revised by the Copyright Convention which was signed
at Rome on the 2nd June, 1928.
[The following is an English translation of the Convention signed
at Rome with the omission of the formal beginning and end.]
In faith whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the
- Article 1
- The countries to which the present convention applies are
constituted into a Union for the protection of the rights of authors
over their literary and artistic works.
- Article 2
The term "literary and artistic works" shall include every
production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever
may be the mode or form of its expression, such as books, pamphlets and
other writings; lectures, addresses, sermons and other works of the
same nature; dramatic or dramatico-musical works, choreographic works
and entertainments in dumb show, the acting form of which is fixed in
writing or otherwise; musical compositions with or without words; works
of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and
lithography; illustrations, geographical charts, plans, sketches, and
plastic works relative to geography, topography, architecture or
Translations, adaptations, arrangements of music and other
reproductions in an altered form of a literary or artistic work, as
well as collections of different works, shall be protected as original
works without prejudice to the rights of the author of the original
The countries of the Union shall be bound to make provision
for the protection of the above-mentioned works.
Works of art applied to industrial purposes shall be
protected so far as the domestic legislation of each country allows.
- Article 2 (bis)
The right of partially or wholly excluding political
speeches and speeches delivered in legal proceedings from the
protection provided by the preceding article is reserved for the
domestic legislation of each country of the Union.
The right of fixing the conditions under which lectures,
addresses, sermons and other works of the same nature may be reproduced
by the press is also reserved for the domestic legislation of each
country of the Union. Nevertheless the author shall have the sole right
of making a collection of the said works.
- Article 3
- The present Convention shall apply to photographic works and to
works produced by a process analogous to photography. The countries of
the Union shall be bound to make provision for their protection.
- Article 4
Authors who are nationals of any of the countries of the
Union shall enjoy in countries other than the country of origin of the
work, for their works, whether unpublished or first published in a
country of the Union, the rights which the respective laws do now or
may hereafter grant to natives, as well as the rights specially granted
by the present Convention.
The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be
subject to the performance of any formality; such enjoyment and such
exercise are independent of the existence of protection in the country
of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the express
stipulations of the present Convention, the extent of protection, as
well as the means of redress secured to the author to safeguard his
rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where
protection is claimed.
The country of origin of the work shall be considered to be:
in the case of unpublished works, the country to which the author
belongs; in the case of published works, the country of first
publication; and in the case of works published simultaneously in
several countries of the Union, the country the laws of which grant the
shortest term of protection. In the case of works published
simultaneously in a country outside the Union and in a country of the
Union, the latter country shall be considered exclusively as the
country of origin.
By "published works" must be understood, for the purposes of
the present Convention, works copies of which have been issued to the
public. The representation of a dramatic or dramatico-musical work, the
performance of a musical work, the exhibition of a work of art, and the
construction of a work of architecture shall not constitute a
- Article 5
- Authors who are nationals of one of the countries of the Union
and who first publish their works in another country of the Union shall
have in the latter country the same rights as native authors.
- Article 6
Authors who are not nationals of one of the countries of the
Union, and who first publish their works in one of those countries,
shall enjoy in that country the same rights as native authors, and in
the other countries of the Union the rights granted by the present
Nevertheless, where any country outside the Union fails to
protect in an adequate manner the works of authors who are nationals of
one of the countries of the Union, the latter country may restrict the
protection given to the works of authors who are at the date of the
first publication thereof nationals of the other country and are not
effectively domiciled in one of the countries of the Union.
No restrictions introduced by virtue of the preceding
paragraph shall in any way affect the rights which an author may have
acquired in respect of a work published in a country of the Union
before such restrictions were put in force.
The countries of the Union which restrict the grant of
copyright in accordance with the present article shall give notice
thereof to the Government of the Swiss Confederation by a written
declaration specifying the countries in regard to which protection is
restricted and the restrictions to which rights of authors who are
nationals of those countries are subjected. The Government of the Swiss
Confederation will immediately communicate this declaration to all the
countries of the Union.
- Article 6 (bis)
Independently of the author's copyright, and even after
transfer of the said copyright, the author shall have the right to
claim authorship of the work, as well as the right to object to any
distortion, mutilation or other modification of the said work which
would be prejudicial to his honour or reputation.
The determination of the conditions under which these rights
shall be exercised is reserved for the national legislation of the
countries of the Union. The means of redress for safeguarding these
rights shall be regulated by the legislation of the country where
protection is claimed.
- Article 7
The term of protection granted by the present Convention
shall be the life of the author and fifty years after his death.
Nevertheless, in case such term of protection should not be
uniformly adopted by all the countries of the Union, the term shall be
regulated by the law of the country where protection is claimed, and
must not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the work.
Consequently the countries of the Union shall only be bound to apply
the provisions of the preceding paragraph in so far as such provisions
are consistent with their domestic laws.
For photographic works and works produced by a process
analogous to photography, for posthumous works, for anonymous or
pseudonymous works, the term of protection shall be regulated by the
law of the country where protection is claimed, provided that the said
term shall not exceed the term fixed in the country of origin of the
- Article 7 (bis)
The term of copyright protection belonging in common to
joint authors of a work shall be calculated according to the date of
the death of the author who dies last.
Authors who are nationals of the countries which grant a
term of protection shorter than that mentioned in paragraph (1) cannot
claim a longer term of protection in the other countries of the
In no case may the term of protection expire before the
death of the author who dies last.
- Article 8
- The authors of unpublished works, who are nationals of one of
the countries of the Union, and the authors of works first published in
one of those countries, shall enjoy, in the other countries of the
Union, during the whole term of the right in the original work, the
exclusive right of making or authorizing a translation of their
- Article 9
Serial stories, tales, and all other works, whether
literary, scientific, or artistic, whatever their object, published in
the newspapers or periodicals of one of the countries of the Union may
not be reproduced in the other countries without the consent of the
Articles on current economic, political or religious topics
may be reproduced by the press unless the reproduction thereof is
expressly reserved. Nevertheless the source must always be clearly
indicated; the legal consequences of the breach of this obligation
shall be determined by the laws of the country where protection is
The protection of the present Convention shall not apply to
news of the day or to miscellaneous information which is simply of the
nature of items of news.
- Article 10
- As regards the liberty of extracting portions from literary or
artistic works for use in publications destined for educational
purposes, or having a scientific character, or for chrestomathies, the
effect of the legislation of the countries of the Union and of special
arrangements existing, or to be concluded, between them is not affected
by the present Convention.
- Article 11
The stipulations of the present Convention shall apply to
the public representation of dramatic or dramatico-musical works and to
the public performance of musical works, whether such works be
published or not.
Authors of dramatic or dramatico-musical works shall be
protected during the existence of their right over the original work
against the unauthorized public representation of translations of their
In order to enjoy the protection of the present Article,
authors shall not be bound in publishing their works to forbid the
public representation or performance thereof.
- Article 11 (bis)
Authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the
exclusive right of authorizing the communication of their works to the
public by radiocommunication.
The national legislations of the countries of the Union may
regulate the conditions under which the right mentioned in the
preceding paragraph shall be exercised, but the effect of those
conditions will be strictly limited to the countries which have put
them in force. Such conditions shall not in any case prejudice the
moral right (droit moral) of the author, nor the right which belongs to
the author to obtain an equitable remuneration which shall be fixed,
failing agreement, by the competent authority.
- Article 12
- The following shall be specially included among the unlawful
reproductions to which the present Convention applies: Unauthorized
indirect appropriations of a literary or artistic work, such as
adaptations, musical arrangements, transformations of a novel, tale, or
piece of poetry, into a dramatic piece and vice versa, etc., when they
are only the reproduction of that work, in the same form or in another
form, without essential alterations, additions, or abridgements and do
not present the character of a new original work.
- Article 13
The authors of musical works shall have the exclusive right
of authorizing (1) the adaptation of those works to instruments which
can reproduce them mechanically; (2) the public performance of the said
works by means of these instruments.
Reservations and conditions relating to the application of
this Article may be determined by the domestic legislation of each
country in so far as it is concerned; but the effect of any such
reservations and conditions will be strictly limited to the country
which has put them in force.
The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not be retroactive,
and consequently shall not be applicable in any country of the Union to
works which have been lawfully adapted in that country to mechanical
instruments before the coming into force of the Convention signed at
Berlin on the 13th November, 1908, and in the case of a country which
has acceded to the Union since that date, or accedes in the future,
before the date of its accession.
Adaptations made in virtue of paragraphs (2) and (3) of the
present Article, and imported without the authority of the interested
parties into a country where they would not be lawful, shall be liable
to seizure in that country.
- Article 14
Authors of literary, scientific or artistic works shall have
the exclusive right of authorizing the reproduction, adaptation and
public presentation of their works by cinematography.
Cinematographic productions shall be protected as literary
or artistic works if the author has given the work an original
character. If this character is absent the cinematographic production
shall enjoy protection as a photographic work.
Without prejudice to the rights of the author of the work
reproduced or adapted, a cinematographic work shall be protected as an
The above provisions apply to reproduction or production
effected by any other process analogous to cinematography.
- Article 15
In order that the authors of works protected by the present
Convention shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be
considered as such, and be consequently admitted to institute
proceedings against pirates before the Courts of the various countries
of the Union, it will be sufficient that their name be indicated on the
work in the accustomed manner.
For anonymous or pseudonymous works the publisher whose name
is indicated on the work shall be entitled to protect the rights
belonging to the author. He shall be, without other proof, deemed to
be the legal representative of the anonymous or pseudonymous author.
- Article 16
Pirated works may be seized by the competent authorities of
any country of the Union where the original work enjoys legal
In such a country the seizure may also apply to
reproductions imported from a country where the work is not protected,
or has ceased to be protected.
The seizure shall take place in accordance with the domestic
legislation of each country.
- Article 17
- The provisions of the present Convention cannot in any way
derogate from the right belonging to the Government of each country of
the Union to permit, to control, or to prohibit, by measures of
domestic legislation or police, the circulation, representation, or
exhibition of any works or productions in regard to which the competent
authority may find it necessary to exercise that right.
- Article 18
The present Convention shall apply to all works which at the
moment of its coming into force have not yet fallen into the public
domain in the country of origin through the expiration of the term of
If, however, through the expiration of the term of
protection which was previously granted, a work has fallen into the
public domain of the country where protection is claimed, that work
shall not be protected anew in that country.
The application of this principle shall take effect
according to the stipulations contained in special Conventions
existing, or to be concluded, to that effect between countries of the
Union. In the absence of such stipulations, the respective countries
shall regulate, each in so far as it is concerned, the manner in which
the said principle is to be applied.
The above provisions shall apply equally in case of new
accessions to the Union, and also in the event of the term of
protection being extended by the application of Article 7 or by
abandonment of reservations.
- Article 19
- The provisions of the present convention shall not prevent a
claim being made for the application of any wider provisions which may
be made by the legislation of a country of the Union in favour of
foreigners in general.
- Article 20
- The Governments of the countries of the Union reserve to
themselves the right to enter into special arrangements between each
other, provided always that such arrangements confer upon authors more
extended rights than those granted by the Union, or embody other
stipulations not contrary to the present Convention. The provisions of
existing arrangements which answer to the above-mentioned conditions
shall remain applicable.
- Article 21
The International Office established under the name of the
"Office of the International Union for the Protection of Literary and
Artistic Works" shall be maintained.
That Office is placed under the high authority of the
Government of the Swiss Confederation, which regulates its organization
and supervises its working.
The official language of the Office shall be French.
- Article 22
The International Office collects every kind of information
relative to the protection of the rights of authors over their literary
and artistic works. It arranges and publishes such information. It
undertakes the study of questions of general interest concerning the
Union, and, by the aid of documents placed at its disposal by the
different Administrations, edits a periodical publication in the French
language on the questions which concern the objects of the Union. The
Governments of the countries of the Union reserve to themselves the
power to authorize by common accord the publication by the Office of an
edition in one or more other languages, if experience should show this
to be requisite.
The International Office will always hold itself at the
disposal of members of the Union with the view to furnish them with any
special information which they may require relative to the protection
of literary and artistic works.
The Director of the International Office shall make an
annual Report on his Administration, which shall be communicated to all
the members of the Union.
- Article 23
The expenses of the Office of the International Union shall
be shared by the countries of the Union. Until a fresh arrangement be
made, they cannot exceed the sum of 120,000 Swiss francs a year. This
sum may be increased, if necessary, by the unanimous decision of one of
the Conferences provided for in Article 24.
The share of the total expense to be paid by each country
shall be determined by the division of the countries of the Union and
those subsequently acceding to the Union into six classes, each of
which shall contribute in the proportion of a certain number of units,
|1st class||. . . . . . . . . .||25|
|2nd class||. . . . . . . . . .||20|
|3rd class||. . . . . . . . . .||15|
|4th class||. . . . . . . . . .||10|
|5th class||. . . . . . . . . .|| 5|
|6th class||. . . . . . . . . .|| 3|
These coefficients are multiplied by the number of countries
of each class, and the total product thus obtained gives the number of
units by which the total expense is to be divided. The quotient gives
the amount of the unit of expense.
Each country shall declare, at the time of its accession, in
which of the said classes it desires to be placed, but it may
subsequently declare that it wishes to be placed in another class.
The Swiss Administration prepares the Budget of the Office,
superintends its expenditure, makes the necessary advances, and draws
up the annual account which shall be communicated to all the other
- Article 24
The present Convention may be submitted to revisions in
order to introduce therein amendments calculated to perfect the system
of the Union.
Questions of this kind, as well as those which are of
interest to the Union in other respects, shall be considered in
Conferences to be held successively in the countries of the Union by
delegates of the said countries. The Administration of the country
where a Conference is to meet prepares, with the assistance of the
International Office, the programme of the Conference. The Director of
the Office shall attend at the sittings of the Conferences, and shall
take part in the discussions without the right to vote.
No alteration in the present Convention shall be binding on
the Union except by the unanimous consent of the countries composing it.
- Article 25
Countries outside the Union which make provision for the
legal protection of the rights forming the object of the present
Convention may accede thereto on request to that effect.
Such accession shall be notified in writing to the
Government of the Swiss Confederation, who will communicate it to all
the other countries of the Union.
Such accession shall imply full adhesion to all the clauses
and admission to all the advantages provided by the present Convention,
and shall take effect one month after the date of the notification made
by the Government of the Swiss Confederation to the other unionist
countries, unless some later date has been indicated by the adhering
country. It may nevertheless, contain an indication that the adhering
country wishes to substitute, provisionally at least, for Article 8,
which relates to translations, the provisions of Article 5 of the
Convention of 1886 revised at Paris in 1896, on the understanding that
those provisions shall apply only to translations into the language or
languages of that country.
- Article 26
Any country of the Union may at any time notify in writing
to the Government of the Swiss Confederation that the present
Convention shall apply to all or any of its colonies, protectorates,
territories under mandate or any other territories subject to its
sovereignty or to its authority, or any territories under suzerainty,
and the Convention shall thereupon apply to all the territories named
in such notification. Failing such notification, the Convention shall
not apply to any such territories.
Any country of the Union may at any time notify in writing
to the Government of the Swiss Confederation that the present
Convention shall cease to apply to all or any of the territories which
have been made the subject of a notification under the preceding
paragraph, and the Convention shall cease to apply in the territories
named in the notification given under this paragraph twelve months
after the receipt of the latter notification by the Government of the
All notifications given to the Government of the Swiss
Confederation in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (1) and
(2) of the present article shall be communicated by that Government to
all the countries of the Union.
- Article 27
The present Convention shall replace, in regard to the
relations between the countries of the Union, the Convention of Berne
of the 9th September, 1886, and the subsequent revisions thereof. The
instruments previously in force shall continue to be applicable in
regard to relations with countries which do not ratify the present
The countries on whose behalf the present Convention is
signed may retain the benefit of the reservations which they have
previously formulated on condition that they make a declaration to that
effect at the time of the deposit of their ratifications.
The countries which are actually members of the Union, but
on whose behalf the present Convention is not signed may adhere to the
Convention at any time. In that event they may enjoy the benefit of the
provisions of the preceding paragraph.
- Article 28
The present Convention shall be ratified, and the
ratifications deposited at Rome, not later than the 1st July, 1931.
It shall come into force, between the countries which have
ratified it, one month after that date, nevertheless, if before that
date, it has been ratified by at least six countries of the Union, it
shall come into force between those countries one month after the
deposit of the sixth ratification has been notified to them by the
Government of the Swiss Confederation and, in the case of countries
which ratify thereafter, one month after the notification of each of
Until the 1st August, 1931, countries outside the Union may
accede to the Union by adhering either to the Convention signed at
Berlin on the 13th November, 1908, or to the present Convention. On or
after the 1st August, 1931, they may adhere only to the present
- Article 29
The present Convention shall remain in force for an
indefinite period until the termination of a year from the day on which
it may have been denounced.
Such denunciation shall be made to the Government of the
Swiss Confederation. It shall only take effect in regard to the country
making it, the Convention remaining in full force and effect for the
other countries of the Union.
- Article 30
The countries which shall introduce in their legislation the
duration of protection for fifty years contemplated by Article 7,
paragraph (1), of the present Convention, shall give notice thereof in
writing to the Government of the Swiss Confederation, who will
communicate it at once to all the other countries of the Union.
The same procedure shall be followed in the case of the
countries renouncing the reservations made or maintained by them in
virtue of Articles 25 and 27.
Done at Rome, the 2nd day of June, 1928, in a single copy, which
shall be deposited in the archives of the Royal Italian Government. A
copy, duly certified, shall be transmitted by the diplomatic channel to
each country of the Union.