Is International Copyright Law Only a Myth?

Copyright Protection Is International Copyright Law Only a Myth?

Is There an International Copyright Law?

A straightforward answer to this would be no. The government of each country passes copyright laws, and they cannot be internationally accepted. Some treaties regulate copyright and other intellectual property rights globally. Copyright infringement is a global issue, but how copyright works and how long it lasts can vary from country to country.

International Copyright Rules

Original works of art like music, books, video games, movies, and computer software can travel from one continent to another, providing a great opportunity for content theft. We don’t know how to copyright internationally since the international law on copyright doesn’t exist.

Most countries base their copyright laws on the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Because of that, the Berne Convention is responsible for regulating international copyright rules to some extent.


Three countries, Eritrea, Turkmenistan, and San Marino have no copyright laws or protection for authors, not even within their borders.

The U.S. Copyright Law—Relations With Other Countries

Copyright owners often need to know whether their copyright is valid in other countries. That depends on the copyright law of the particular country and whether the United States has copyright relations with it.

The U.S. has copyright agreements with most countries. This means that the countries will honor each other’s copyright laws and protect the copyrights of the other country’s citizens.

The U.S. Copyright Office provides a circular, along with the list of treaties, agreements, and countries the U.S. has copyright agreements with.

Some of the most relevant treaties and agreements are listed below:

The Buenos Aires Convention (BAC), 1910 The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne) Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms, Geneva, 1971 
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) World Trade Organization (WTO)
Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite (SAT), Brussels, 1974 The Universal Copyright Convention (UCC Geneva), Geneva, 1952
The Universal Copyright Convention as revised at Paris (UCC Paris), 1971 The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (VIP)
The World Organization Intellectual Property (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT), Geneva, 1996  The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), Geneva, 1996

In case a country is a member of the same convention or has some of the mentioned agreements with the U.S., the work of a U.S. citizen may be protected there, under the conditions of the convention.

What Countries Ignore the DMCA Policy

The DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is a copyright law of the United States that protects and regulates the rights and obligations of copyright holders and provides protection from copyright infringement.

DMCA protection can apply to other countries in certain cases:

  • If the U.S.-based website infringes your copyrights, you can file a DMCA takedown notice, even if you don’t live in the United States
  • If you live in the U.S., you can file a DMCA takedown notice, even if a website isn’t hosted there. This is the case if the hosting country is a part of the WIPO treaty

Even though the DMCA is a copyright law of the United States, it still regulates copyright infringement elsewhere. Not a single country permits the use of the DMCA-protected content, but a few are willing to look the other way.

A famous example is Sweden in the case of The Pirate Bay (TPB), the notorious file-sharing website. Sweden’s tolerant approach to DMCA-protected content allowed TPB owners Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij, and Peter Sunde to make a million-worth network from a series of copyright infringements.

Some of the countries that ignore the DMCA are:

  • Russia
  • The Netherlands
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Bulgaria
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore

Even in these countries, it is not 100% safe to use DMCA-protected content without permission since their law enforcement can legally pursue you for doing that and take down your website.

How the U.S. Copyright Law Protects You

The DMCA protects both internet service providers (ISPs) and copyright owners. 

Although your first step should be to reach out to the author of the website that posted your content, if you don’t receive a favorable response from them, you can file a DMCA takedown notice to the ISP and ask them to remove the content.

Safe harbors offer ISPs protection from liability for copyright infringement caused by their users. To be part of the safe harbor, ISPs must fulfill these conditions:

  • Only users select and upload content
  • Other users are provided with that content but cannot change it
  • The process of transferring content from one user to another is automatic; ISPs cannot interfere

Other than that, ISPs are obliged to take down stolen content if they receive a takedown notice from copyright holders.

Your ISP likely has an email address dedicated to copyright complaints and violations, so make sure to compose a detailed email and send it their way. That way, you can enforce the removal of the stolen content or the blocking of the page that contains it.

The best way to deal with copyright infringement is through copyright infringement notices. After the web hosts receive a takedown notice, they must remove the infringing content immediately. 

Protect Your Work Through the DMCA Takedown Notice With DoNotPay

When dealing with copyright infringement, it is paramount to find the best and safest option to resolve it. Simplicity also plays a key role. To get all that in one place, visit our app in your preferred web browser. File a DMCA takedown notice hassle-free, following these steps:

  1. Select the DMCA Takedown feature
  2. Type in the title of your work
  3. Enter the URLs of both original and stolen content
  4. Confirm your identity and account information
  5. Hit Sign and Submit

DoNotPay provides its users with unlimited use of this service, and if you don’t own proof of copyright ownership, it’s not a problem for us. To see the results of the DMCA takedown, check the My Disputes tab.

DoNotPay—A Powerful App To Fight Bureaucracy

Do you need one reliable source of information and one service for dealing with all of your administration-related problems? You found it with DoNotPay!

We can get you up to date with information related to copyright, like how it’s different from a trademark, what is a copyright claim, how to add a copyright notice to your website, or how much it costs to copyright. With our help, you can find out how to file DMCA takedown notices in general or with internet service providers like YouTube and Google.

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