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International and comparative law of copyright and related rights

Module information>

Academic Direction
UCL, Queen Mary University of London
Modes of Study

This course will give you a strong overview of the issues, operation and history of international and comparative law of copyright and related rights.

The course will­ provide you with a sound knowledge of substantive UK and US copyright law and the shared historical roots of these systems and give students the theoretical foundations, and analytical skills, sufficient to be able to evaluate UK/US copyright problems that arise in practice, and on which you may be asked to advise in a professional capacity. It will also aim to provide students with an awareness of how both jurisdictions are dealing with the challenges posed by new communication technologies such as the Internet.

You will also learn how the systems of copyright/author’s right systems prevailing in Continental Europe, particularly, the French and German author’s right systems have developed and how they operate and be introduced to the regulatory framework of international copyright law amongst a number of other important issues in this key area of the law.

Module A: Copyright law in the United Kingdom and United States


  • Introduction and protectable subject matter
  • Protection criteria
  • Ownership and duration
  • Economic and moral rights
  • Infringement and limitations to protection

Module B: French and German copyright law and related rights


  • Introduction and protected subject matter
  • Economic and moral rights
  • Authorship, transfer of rights and duration
  • Limitations and exceptions

Module C: International copyright law – international conventions and aspects of private international law


  • General concepts
  • The Berne Convention
  • The Universal Copyright Convention
  • The Rome Convention on the Protection of Phonograms and Performing Artists
  • Copyright and the TRIPs Agreement
  • The WIPO “Internet Treaties”
  • Private International Law Aspects

Module D: Copyright law in the European Community


  • Introduction to copyright law in the European Community
  • Computer programs and database protection
  • Rental and lending rights, satellite broadcasting and cable
  • Copyright term and artist's resale right
  • Copyright in the information society and enforcement


Each module is assessed by a 45-minute unseen written exam.


It is strongly recommended you attempt Modules A and B before C and D.

How to apply

You can apply to study a module individually as a standalone unit or as part of a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master of Laws qualification.

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Comparative and Foreign Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.