The Return of the Broadcast Treaty

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) out of the United Nations, is one of the two major international bodies that deals with copyright treaties. (The other is the World Trade Organization through it’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual-Property Rights. There are other bodies involved, but those are the big ones.)

Last year, representatives from WIPO proposed a Broadcasting Treaty that would give Broadcasters rights to restrict copying. That would be a significant change to copyright law as we know it for a variety of reasons- one of which is that broadcasters generally don’t own the copyright in the work they broadcast (beyond their ability to publicly distribute the work). It basically creates a new set of exclusive rights for distributors, and overrides existing copyright law and even the wishes of the creator/copyright holder when those are in conflict. For example, under the proposed text broadcasters could restrict access to public domain works or works licensed under Creative Commons. It also has no provisions for fair uses of material.

There was such opposition to it that representatives from WIPO said they would narrow the scope of the treaty. However, the new proposed treaty not only keeps pretty much the same language, but it also provides additional regulation for devices that could potentially include computers- any “device or system capable of decrypting an encrypted broadcast.”

EFF’s site:

You can see some of the text on WIPO’s site:

1 Comment »

  1. search engine optimi said,

    September 12, 2007 @ 3:08 am

    Thanks for sharing this information.
    The current draft treaty’s exclusive rights-based approach would create a new intellectual property right, such as rights in broadcast signals, which would be layered upon existing copyright in the underlying program material. Many NGOs, IT industry representatives and copyright owners, as well as public interest groups, are opposed to the granting of intellectual property rights in works to parties that simply schedule and transmit works.
    The treaty is not supposed to deal with the Internet, although the WIPO SCCR Chairman Jukka Liedes (from Finland) has included in the Chairman’s draft treaty a proposal by the European Commission to extend the treaty rights to broadcaster simulcasting on the Internet, something that clearly lies outside of the May agreement

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