A driving force behind the creation of the Berne Convention on Copyright
IP Hall of Fame inductee in 2006
French author Hugo was known not only for his literary works, but also for his key role in mobilising support for the international protection of authors’ rights. At the time, internationally known writers were increasingly concerned about the unauthorised copying of their works in other countries, but existing bilateral copyright treaties were complex and difficult to enforce. In 1878, under Hugo’s leadership, they formed the International Literary Association in Paris. At its 1883 meeting in Berne, at which Hugo presided, the group produced a draft text of an international copyright agreement. They persuaded the Swiss government to organise an international conference, using the draft as the basis for an international convention on copyright. International conferences continued in Berne over the following three years, resulting in the completion in 1886 of the Berne Convention, the foundation for international copyright protection.