Universal Copyright Convention

An international agreement adopted under the auspices of UNESCO under which the signatories undertake to protect copyright in rights of authors and other copyright proprietors in literary, scientific, and artistic works, including writings, musical, dramatic, and cinematographic works, and paintings, engravings, and sculpture. The main purpose of the convention was the inclusion of the United States, which then had not joined the Berne Convention, in a general system of international copyright.

The UCC was signed at Geneva in 1952, was ratified by the United States in 1954, and came into effect the following year. U.S. copyright law was modified to conform to the convention, notably by elimination of procedural steps for the establishment of U.S. copyright in works published in other signatory countries and of the requirement that works in the English language by foreign authors be manufactured in the United States to obtain U.S. copyright protection (the notorious “manufacturing clause.”) Although the convention was amended in 1971, its importance was significantly reduced by the accession of the United States into the Berne Convention in 1989.

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