However, like snowflakes, no country’s law is exactly the same as any other’s, and there is endless variation in the types of works protected, the lengths of protection, the limitations and exceptions – such as fair use, fair dealing, or the droit de courte citation – to that protection. Some of these variations are extremely obscure, such as additional term length for certain works in France stemming from the disruption caused by the first and second world wars, or the perpetual term awarded in the United Kingdom for J.M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan.

Because the laws vary from country to country, so too do the royalties creators or their affiliates may collect from use in those countries. For example, there is no right in the United States to be paid for the analog broadcast (i.e., terrestrial radio and television) of recorded music. Consequently, no royalties are paid on these uses by SoundExchange, the relevant American performing rights organization, but they are paid in many overseas territories. Independent American record companies and recording artists frequently miss out on royalties from foreign broadcasts, which go unclaimed. However, there are ways for American rightsholders to benefit from foreign broadcast royalties.

Likewise, while the United States has eliminated formal registration requirements in order to qualify for basic copyright protection, American law still encourages registration. Registration with the U.S. Copyright Office is simple and inexpensive, but holders of rights in unregistered works are penalized in the event their rights are infringed. Though they may not be familiar with registration, as it is unusual outside the United States, foreign rightsholders stand to benefit greatly by early U.S. copyright registration.

The Law Offices of Joshua Graubart, P.C. can help rightsholders navigate these subtle but important differences in local law. Please contact the firm to inquire further.