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Scholarly Communication Services - International Copyright: Essentials

International Copyright

International CopyrightCopyright and its laws are not treated the same around the world.  However, international treaties have harmonized copyright so that some copyright principles have baseline characteristics among countries that signed a treaty.  For example, the Berne Convention established that copyright protections can last for the lifetime of its creator plus 50 years as a baseline for its participating countries (Smith, Gilliland, and Mackay, 2012).

International copyright and its related treaties are administered by Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  See the links below for additional information about international copyright, and which agreements have been signed by the U.S.

International Copyright & Higher Education.  Collaborations between institutions are common in higher education, including those among other countries.  Copyright is territorial; this means copyright protections for a work depend on where it was created or published.  This also means a work may not have the same copyright protections in one country as it would have in another.  Instead, a work would be subject to the copyright laws of where it is being read, used, or otherwise accessed. 

When they create or publish works while abroad, creators and scholars are subject to the copyright laws of the country where they are regardless of their nationality.  For instance, the copyright protection for the work of an international FAU student would be defined under U.S. law if it is published here.  Conversely, any work created and published by an FAU professor while on sabbatical in Great Britain would be subject to its copyright laws.  

Legal experts recommend that authors and creators of copyrighted works be aware of copyright or other relevant intellectual property laws of the U.S. or nations where they work, and to understand any contractual relationships they may have with collaborators based outside the U.S. (Denniston, 2012).

Disclaimer: The FAU Libraries and its faculty, staff, and administration are not attorneys and cannot interpret the law.  This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not substitute for advice from legal counsel.

Sources: Denniston, M.S. (2012, March 28). Intellectual copyright protection: How does it work? Bradley [Web page]. https://www.bradley.com/insights/publications/2012/03/international-copyright-protection-how-does-it-w__#:~:text=Copyright%20law%20is%20%E2%80%9Cterritorial%E2%80%9D%20and,which%20the%20author%20seeks%20protection.

Smith, K., Macklin, L.A., & Gilliland, A. (2012). Copyright for educators and librarians [Online course]. Coursera. https://www.coursera.org

Related LibGuides

International Copyright Essentials

The U.S. participates in the following treaties:

International Copyright Multimedia

Copyright Clearance Center (2016). Does global copyright law exisit? [YouTube Video]. https://youtu.be/sGSuQZdDbMU

Copyright Clearance Center (2015). Copyright across borders. [YouTube Video]. https://youtu.be/ODR4dXUP_v4