There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorised use in a particular country basically depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. There are two principal international copyright conventions, the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).
Copyright law provides protection for literary and artistic works, giving authors the ability to control the exploitation of their works. The law of related rights provides similar protection for the creative contributions of those involved in presenting works to the public, such as performers, phonogram producers and broadcasters.
These rights are provided by national laws in individual countries. International treaties serve to forge links among different national laws, ensuring that creators are also protected in another country than their own. The treaties do not overrule national law, but require the countries that join them to grant some specified minimum rights, and to do so on a non-discriminatory basis.
The acceptance and implementation of these treaties and conventions is almost universal as more and more countries add their names to the list of signatories.