Buenos Aires Convention

The Buenos Aires Convention is a copyright treaty signed at Buenos Aires on 1910-04-11 which provides for the mutual recognition of copyrights where the work carries a notice containing a statement of reservation of rights (Art. 3). This was commonly done by the use of the phrase "All rights reserved" (Spanish "Todos los derechos reservados", Portuguese "Todos os direitos reservados") next to the copyright notice. Copyright protection under the Convention is granted for the shorter of the terms of the protecting country and the source country of the work ("rule of the shorter term", Arts. 6, 7). The rather vague nature of the requirement for a statement of reservation led to the development of longer and more legalistic wordings, which have persisted despite the developments in international copyright law.

The Convention is specifically retained by the Universal Copyright Convention of 1952-09-06 (Art. 18 Geneva Act), with the most recent formulation taking precedence in case of conflict. As the Buenos Aires Convention was not modified, the presence of a simple copyright notice was sufficient to ensure mutual recognition of copyright between countries which became parties to the UCC (which only Honduras never did). As of 2000-08-23, all parties to the Buenos Aires Convention are also parties to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which provides for mutual recognition of copyright without any formalities whatsoever (Art. 5.2 Berne).

The Buenos Aires Convention has become a "special agreement" in the terms of Article 20 of the Berne Convention. It remains in force, notably for determining the source country of a work and hence the term of protection which is applicable in countries which apply the "rule of the shorter term": when a work is simultaneously published in a Convention State and a non-Convention State, the Convention State will be taken to be the source country regardless of the term of protection in the non-Convention State.

Country Buenos Aires Convention UCC Berne
Argentina 1950-04-19 1958-02-13 1967-06-10
Bolivia 1914-05-15 1990-03-22 1993-11-04
Brazil 1915-08-31 1960-01-13 1922-02-09
Chile 1955-06-14 1955-09-16 1970-06-05
Colombia 1936-12-23 1976-06-18 1988-03-07
Costa Rica 1916-11-30 1955-09-16 1978-06-10
Dominican Republic 1912-10-31 1983-05-08 1997-12-24
Ecuador 1914-04-27 1957-06-05 1991-10-09
Guatemala 1913-03-28 1964-10-28 1997-01-11
Haiti 1919-11-27 1955-09-16 1996-01-11
Honduras 1914-04-27 1990-01-25
Mexico 1964-04-24 1957-05-12 1967-06-11
Nicaragua 1913-12-15 1961-08-16 2000-08-23
Panama 1913-11-25 1962-10-17 1996-06-08
Paraguay 1917-09-20 1962-03-11 1992-01-02
Peru 1920-04-30 1963-10-16 1988-08-20
United States 1911-08-01 1955-09-16 1989-03-01
Uruguay 1919-05-11 1993-04-12 1967-07-10
Sources: U.S. Copyright Office, UNESCO, WIPO


  1. Geneva Act of the Universal Copyright Convention, done at Geneva, 1952-09-06.
  2. Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Act), as amended on 1979-09-28.
  3. The United States has never applied the rule of the shorter term: all copyright works are protected for the normal U.S. term of copyright.
  4. The United States deposited its Instruments of Ratification with the Government of Argentina on 1911-05-01, and hence the treaty came into force with respect to the other parties three months after that date (Art. 16). The treaty was not proclaimed in the United States until 1914-07-13.
  5. " International Copyright Relations of the United States", U.S. Copyright Office Circular No. 38a, August 2003.
  6. Parties to the Geneva Act of the Universal Copyright Convention as of 2000-01-01: the dates given in the document are dates of ratification, not dates of coming into force. The Geneva Act came into force on 1955-09-16 for the first twelve to have ratified (which included four non-members of the Berne Union as required by Art. 9.1), or three months after ratification for other countries.
  7. Parties to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works as of 2006-05-30.

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