Countries With No Copyright Laws

Not all countries offer authors copyright protection.
••• book image by Pali A from <a href=''></a>

Most countries offer some sort of copyright protection for an author's work. In dealing with foreign works, most countries have agreed to one or more international copyright treaties and conventions, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Universal Copyright Convention, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty, the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Other countries rely only on protection under their national laws. However, copyright protection in some countries is unclear, according to the U.S. Copyright Office.

No Protection

Only three countries, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and San Marino, are said by the U.S. Copyright Office to have no copyright protection either for authors within their borders or for foreign works. For the most up-to-date information, you should consult an attorney who is an expert in foreign copyright laws.

In the Works

Afghanistan is working to create a copyright law. A group called the Intellectual Property Working Group of the Afghanistan Transitional Commercial Law Project, which is a joint project between American Bar Association and Center for International Management Education is working at rebuilding Afghanistan's legal framework, which includes creating copyright protection.

Read More: How to Copyright Multiple Similar Works


The U.S. Copyright Office says that it is unclear as to whether the following countries offer copyright protection. They are not participating in an international agreement, but they may be "honoring obligations incurred under former political status," according to the copyright office. The countries are Somalia, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Nauru. For the most up-to-date information on any changes these countries make, you should consult an attorney who is an expert in foreign copyright laws.

No International Agreements

Even if a country does not provide copyright protection under international agreements, it may provide protection under its national laws. The countries are Seychelles, Iran, Iraq and Palau. For the most up-to-date information on what copyright protections these countries offer, you should consult an attorney who is an expert in foreign copyright laws.

Related Articles