Vietnam now a member of WIPO’s Copyright Treaty
16 December 2021
Vietnam has joined the World Intellectual Property Organization's Copyright Treaty (WCT), thus becoming its 111th member.
Ambassador Le Thi Tuyet Mai, permanent representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland handed over the instruments of accession to World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director Daren Tang on November 17, 2021 in Geneva.
A special agreement under the Berne Convention, the WCT addresses the issue of copyright protection and economic rights of authors in the digital space. It also deals with computer programs and data compilations or databases as subject matters also covered by copyright protection.
“In my opinion, Vietnam’s Law on Intellectual Property has already covered and satisfied WCT’s requirements, so the accession to WCT is just us acting on our commitment when we joined the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Loc Xuan Le, partner and head of IP enforcement at Tilleke & Gibbins in Hanoi.
“By joining WCT, Vietnam ensures that we shall provide IP rights protection at international standards, which I believe is crucial in developing Vietnam as an attractive business destination for foreign investors,” he said.
“On the other hand, Vietnam has a strong and growing community of artists who generate content on the Internet daily, so the official accession of Vietnam to WCT shall provide solid legal grounds to protect Vietnamese creators in the digital era. This, in return, shall act as an incentive to promote the creative sector,” Le added.
This creative sector - composed of players in the design, software, book, music, film and advertising industries, among others - is besieged with the problem of online piracy. Vietnam’s legal system for copyright and related rights is outdated, leaving it unable to address the problem efficiently and effectively.
The country’s accession to the WCT thus ushers in a new era for its IP ecosystem and creative sector.
“Vietnam is now obliged by the WCT to effectively prevent and tackle infringement on digital platforms, so we can expect to see more of the government’s effort in online enforcement actions. The emphasis of the Treaty on the protection of copyright in computer programs and data compilations means copyright holders in these areas will be among the major beneficiaries,” said Yen Vu, executive and country manager of Rouse Legal Vietnam, member of the Rouse Network, in Ho Chi Minh
Updates to the fair use system, which could be more in sync with technology trends, may also be expected, she said. This is because the WCT allows contracting states to introduce new copyright exceptions and limitations suitable to the digital environment, as long as these meet the "three-step" test. Vu said this is a positive development for Vietnam’s creative economy since works from the sector are now mainly done via electronic means.
“Vietnam has already proven its determination to make the copyright system more relevant in the digital era with technology-driven changes recently proposed in the Draft IP Law Amendment. Some examples are the introduction of official definitions of “Efficient Technological Protection Measures,” “Rights Management Information,” “communication to the public of a work, a performance, an audio or visual recording,” the addition of regulations on ISPs’ liability for infringements of copyright and related rights and safe harbors, etc.,” explained Vu. “These changes are consistent with the obligations under the WCT.”
The WCT will enter into force in Vietnam in February 2022.
Espie Angelica A. de Leon