Copyright law also limits the granting of copyright protection for social policy reasons, such as the need to have access to certain knowledge and news about events in the world. For example, the news of the day published, broadcast or publicly communicated is not protected. Other unauthorised use of copyright material is generally accepted under the notion of ‘fair use’ (see below).
Copyright rules are fairly similar worldwide because of international treaties. The most important treaty is the Berne Convention, which was signed by 100 member countries. In general, copyright protection lasts for at least the author’s lifetime plus 50 years.
For drug bulletins copyright is important because it provides a way to protect their work against unauthorised reproduction by others. For example, a bulletin can prevent drug companies from photocopying or reprinting their articles for promotional use. Drug bulletins also need to be aware of the copyright of others.