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Postgraduate course

International Copyright Law

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeJUS277-2-B
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish.
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits

10 ECTS Credits

Level of Study



Full time

Teaching semester

Spring. (Exam only in semesters with teaching)

Combines successfully with Introduction to Copyright Law (JUS277-2-A)

Place of Instruction

Bergen Law Faculty

Objectives and Content

Works of authorship, such as books, music, films and computer software, travel easily across national borders, giving copyright law an international dimension almost by definition. Indeed the oldest international copyright conventions already date back from the 19th century. The ongoing globalization of information markets and the advent of the Internet have accelerated this process of internationalization. Increasingly, national copyright norms are being established at the international level, either in the form of multilateral treaties or bilateral instruments.

This course on International Copyright Law explores past and recent developments in international copyright law. Following a comparison of national legal systems, the focus will shift to the main treaties providing international copyright protection: Berne Convention, TRIPs Agreement, WIPO `Internet treaties¿ and bilateral treaties. Other subjects covered include international enforcement of copyright; dealing with the rampant problem of mass online copyright infringement, and current developments in international and European copyright law.

Schedule of Classes

The course will be taught in 8 classes of 2 hours each (total 14) hours during the second semester, following this schedule:

Class # 1 Comparing national copyright systems

  • The two main traditions: copyright v. author¿s right
  • Comparing US and European copyright laws: main differences

Class # 2 Berne Convention

  • History of the Berne Convention
  • National treatment and territoriality
  • Points of attachment
  • Minimum standards

Class # 3 WIPO Copyright Treaty

  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • International copyright and the Internet
  • WCT Minimum Standards
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Are international copyright treaties self-executing?

Class # 4 TRIPS Agreement

  • World Trade Organization
  • WTO Dispute Settlement Procedure
  • Substantive copyright norms in TRIPs
  • The `three-step test¿

Class # 5 Bilateral agreements

  • US Free Trade Agreements
  • EU Bilateral arrangements
  • Concerns of developing nations

Class # 6 International enforcement

  • Litigating in foreign countries
  • Jurisdiction, conflicts of law
  • The Madonna (Frozen) plagiarism case

Class # 7 Copyright and Unauthorized File Sharing

  • Liability of users
  • Liability of (software) providers
  • Liability of ISP¿s
  • Should file sharing be legalized?

Class # 8 Current developments

  • The `orphan works¿ problem
  • Open content/Creative Commons
  • Other current developments


Class Participation and Preparation

All students are expected to prepare in advance for class and to participate in class discussions. Homework assignments are posted on the course page on Mitt UiB.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this course students will:

  • be able to detect problems of copyright law in the international context;
  • have a good working knowledge of the body of international treaties in the area of copyright law;
  • be able to apply rules from different levels to the same set of facts;

be able to write argumentative texts in the area of international copyright law.

Required Previous Knowledge

Good English

Three years of university studies

Students should have taken one of the following classes: JUS277-2-A Introduction to Copyright Law or similar introductory course in copyright or intellectual property law at a foreign university.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Three years of Law studies.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

No academic overlapping with courses at the Law faculty in Bergen.

Access to the Course

The course is available for the following students:

  • Admitted to the integrated master programme in law
  • Admitted to the two-year master programme in law
  • Granted admission to elective courses at the Faculty of Law
  • Granted additional right to study following completed master degree in law at UiB
  • Exchange students at the Faculty of Law

The pre-requirements may still limit certain students' access to the course

Teaching and learning methods


Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Students are required to submit a paper between 1800 and 2000 words (not including footnotes or appendices) on a designated topic. The paper must be approved by the lecturer. Only students who have had their paper approved, will obtain the right to sit the exam. Disapproved paper cannot be rewritten the same semester.

Forms of Assessment

Exam only in semesters with teaching.

Three hour digital school exam.

Information about digital examination can be found here:


Exam language:

  • Question paper: English
  • Answer paper: English

Examination Support Material

Support materials allowed during school exam:

See section 3-5 of the Supplementary Regulations for Studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

Special regulations about dictionaries:

  • According to the Regulations for Studies, one dictionary is permitted support material during the examination. Bilingual dictionaries containing for example both Norwegian-English and English-Norwegian are considered as one dictionary.
  • Bilingual dictionaries to/from the same two languages - for example Norwegian-English/English-Norwegian - in two different volumes are also considered as one dictionary (irrespective of publisher or edition).
  • Dictionaries as described above cannot be combined with any other types of dictionaries.
  • Any kind of combination which makes up more than two physical volumes is forbidden.
  • In case a student has a special need for any other combination than the above mentioned, such combination has to be clarified with/approved by the course coordinator minimum two weeks before the exam. Students who have not been granted permission to have a special combination minimum two weeks before the exam will be subject to the usual regulations (Section 3-5) about examination support materials.

Grading Scale

A - E for passed, F for failed.

Reading List


Course Evaluation

According to administrative arrangements for evaluating courses at the Law Faculty.

Course Coordinator

Professor P. Bernt Hugenholtz.


Course teacher: Professor P. Bernt Hugenholtz

Administrative contact: elective-courses.jurfa@uib.no