"[...] From 1-5 May 2006, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) will hold its 14th Session in Geneva to determine the fate of the controversial Broadcasting Treaty.
In its final meeting before the General Assembly votes this autumn to send the proposed Broadcasting Treaty to a Diplomatic Conference for final treaty drafting, WIPO delegates will debate a far-reaching 'wish list' of new rights for large broadcasting companies.
The proposed broadcasting treaty would create entirely new global rights for broadcasting companies who have neither created nor own the programming. What's even more alarming is the proposal from the United States that the treaty regulate the Internet transmission of audio and video entertainment.
It is dangerous and inappropriate for an unelected international treaty body to undertake the task of creating entirely new rights, which currently exist in no national law, such as webcasting rights and anti-circumvention laws related to broadcasting. A global treaty is not the place for experimentation with new rights, but rather for the harmonization of existing legal norms. WIPO treads on shaky ground by proposing to create new rights that no elected body in the world has yet agreed to. [...]"
"[...] On the second day of a weeklong meeting at World Intellectual Property Organization on copyright issues, there is little indication so far whether member governments will recommend the full negotiation of a treaty boosting the protection of broadcasts, according to participants. [...]
Whether the treaty will extend to webcasting, broadcasts over the Internet, is a primary topic of concern. Article 6 of the treaty states, 'Broadcasting organizations shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the retransmission of their broadcasts by any means, including rebroadcasting, retransmission by wire, and retransmission over computer networks.'
A highly unpopular proposal by the United States to include webcasting in the treaty ended up as a 'non-mandatory appendix' to the treaty.
A key term under scrutiny is 'fixation,' which is the capture and later rebroadcast of transmissions. The treaty would give the organisations the exclusive right of authorizing the fixation of their broadcasts, as well as of authorising any type of reproduction of their broadcasts. This includes transmission over computer networks, and wired or wireless, and the right is not exhausted even if the broadcast was public. Questions are being raised about the meaning of phrases referring to authorisation and the prohibition of broadcasts from unauthorised fixations. [...]"
"[...] 'As currently drafted, the treaty would have a profound chilling effect on the free flow of information over the Internet,' the U.S. Telecom Association reportedly said in a statement. The telcommunications industry group suggested changes to: limit the treaty to signal theft, delete the webcasting portion, permit transmissions within the home, and ensure intermediary carriers are not made liable.
Also reported to be coming out against the current draft was Intel Corporation, because 'proponents have not demonstrated that the benefits of creating new exclusive rights outweigh the burdens that these new rights impose.' The burdens that they reportedly cited include: control of mobile device and digital home innovation, technical protection measures, liability risk for software makers, device makers and Internet service providers, more complexity to the clearance process for using content, harm to copyright owners, and harm to the public interest [...]"
"[...] Negotiators at the World Intellectual Property Organization today scheduled another meeting on a proposed broadcasters' rights treaty before deciding whether to recommend a full negotiation. They also took the significant step of putting an unpopular proposal to include webcasting in the treaty on a separate, later negotiating track. [...]"