Back in 1886, primarily as a means of curbing IP piracy, several European states ratified the International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. It was known then as the Berne Convention and formed the basis for IP property law. Since 1967, the Berne Convention has been administered by WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organization). Under this convention, most nations afford foreign authors the same protection that they give their domestic authors. Since 1967, this principle has been adopted by over 150 nations.
Besides the Berne Convention, other additions such as the Universal Copyright Convention provide protections for artistsÂ’ works. In recent years, the Berne Convention protocols have been embedded into the WTO (World Trade Organization) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which includes IP protection for databases and chip architectures.
Despite the various means adopted by countries to protect IP, some small-nation exceptions, such as Bermuda, do exist. Therefore, the potential for a data haven in todayÂ’s world is a real possibility and not just fiction. In short, a small nation that is not a signatory to the Berne Convention or other such agreements could gain substantial market share by illegally copying and transmitting IP that is protected by copyright laws in most other nations.