Record Industry Hails Breakthrough For WIPO Phonograms Treaty

IFPI Press Release, February 21, 2002

London – February 21, 2002

The international recording industry today welcomed confirmation that the WIPO Phonograms and Performances Treaty, which creates the first global system of copyright protection for record companies in the digital era, will come into force on May 20, 2002.

The WPPT and its sister Treaty the WIPO Copyright Treaty are the most important update of international copyright rules in more than 30 years. They give record companies tools to fight piracy on the Internet, and they provide the first-ever global system of exclusive rights that are a prerequisite for producers to distribute music online.

Honduras became the 30th country to accede to the WPPT on February 20th, thereby triggering the Treaty’s entry into force three months later. The WIPO Treaties were signed by more than 60 countries at the Diplomatic Conference in Geneva in December 1996. Thirty ratifications are necessary to bring each Treaty into force. The WCT hit that landmark in December and will enter into force on March 6.

Around half of the signing countries have still to ratify, but many have begun the government processes necessary to join the treaties.

Jorgen Larsen, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music International, said:

“Universal and other music companies are rapidly moving into the era of electronic distribution, with its tremendous opportunities to service all consumers with all of our repertoire. The WIPO Treaties are an essential milestone in this process. They give us an internationally-agreed copyright framework that grants us the necessary rights and protection in the online environment.”

Jay Berman, Chairman and CEO of IFPI, the organization representing the recording industry worldwide, said: “This Treaty represents the first global copyright framework for record labels and performers in the digital era and provides essential tools for the industry to do business in the online world. It strengthens our industry’s protection from piracy on the Internet, and it provides the foundation needed for the music industry in every country to introduce new online delivery services. These treaties benefit all record companies globally — independent and major record labels, in developing and developed countries.

The WPPT benefits record companies in two key areas:

  • It updates for the Internet the system of rights that currently applies to the distribution and transmission of music in the physical environment. Most importantly, it confirms that record companies have exclusive rights on a global basis when they are making their repertoire available in the online environment.
  • It confirms that when record companies use technical measures, such as encryption and scrambling, to manage the delivery of music to consumers, those measures are legally protected from hackers and hacking equipment. This protection is extended to producers worldwide, helping to stop rogue hacking operations prospering from ‘safe havens’.

Online distribution is expected to become a major segment of the music business over the next decade. The entry into force of the WIPO Treaties boosts the two-pronged strategy of the recording industry to develop new subscription-based and alternative services, while at the same time fighting to stop the proliferation of pirate and infringing music on the Internet.

A comprehensive IFPI briefing paper on the WIPO Treaties (“Bringing Copyright into the new Millennium”) is available on request or at our website .

IFPI is the international trade organization of the record industry with a membership comprising more than 1400 independent and major companies in over 70 countries.

WIPO (The World Intellectual Property Organization) is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organizations. Based in Geneva, WIPO administers 21 international treaties dealing with different aspects of intellectual property protection. The Organization counts 177 nations as member states.

Further information is also available at the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (

For further information contact:
Adrian Strain or Fiona Harley, IFPI Communications, tel: +44 207 878 7900

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