The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886.

Although widely recognized around the world, there are still some countries that are not signatories to the Berne Convention. For example: Palestine, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, etc.

What would happen if an Iranian artist or designer had their work plagiarized by an American company? Would the individual still be protected under the Berne Convention? What if the individual later immigrates to a different country that DOES PARTICIPATE in the convention?



The Berne Convention requires member states to afford copyright protection equal to their own to works from other member states. A work first published only in non-member state(s) and by citizen(s) of non-member state(s) is not required to be given such protection but such protection is not prohibited either.

A work can not acquire copyright retrospectively if it didn’t have it on creation.

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  • If the creator of the work immigrates to another country that IS in the Berne Convention. Will they then be retroactively granted copyright ownership and protection? – AlanSTACK Aug 1 at 5:33
  • @AlanSTACK see my last paragraph – Dale M Aug 1 at 5:51
  • @AlanSTACK in other words: Non member states do devoid their citizens (and others) of the ability to get copyright worldwide if you publish there first. – Trish Aug 1 at 5:56
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    @Trish not at all, citizens of non-member states who publish in a member state first (or simultaneously) have protection. – Dale M Aug 1 at 5:58
  • @DaleM ah, missed the crucial 3 words! – Trish Aug 1 at 5:59

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