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US Now Supporting Ridiculous Broadcast Treaty; Suggests It Could Cover The Internet Too

from the more-ridiculousness dept

Every few years, news of a ridiculous "broadcast treaty" pops up. This is a treaty that would effectively create a brand new copyright-like right for broadcasters. So, for example, if NBC broadcast some public domain content, it could then lock that up because of its "broadcasting rights" over it, even though the content is in the public domain. Yeah. This isn't needed in any way, shape, or form. It's just a handout to the broadcasters at the expense of the public. There is no actual reason to support it. Usually these talks go nowhere. Last year, the idea popped up again, but basically everyone who wasn't a broadcaster came out against it, and it went nowhere. The US government has gone back and forth on this issue, but was generally seen as not being supportive of it... until now.

Jamie Love has been reporting from the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meeting that the US has surprised some by shifting its policy to now support a broadcast treaty. Even more ridiculous? Shira Perlmutter, the USPTO's Administrator for Policy and External Affairs (and a known IP maximalist and former entertainment industry lobbyist) is suggesting that it should apply to the internet too. This makes absolutely no sense, no matter how you look at it. Copyright already exists for nearly all content being broadcast. Those copyright laws apply on the internet as well. Granting an additional new copyright-like right for broadcasters also is only going to make things even messier with even more content being locked up for no reason whatsoever. It'll also make it that much more difficult to actually do something (legally) with content, because you're now adding the number of permission slips you need to get signed (and the number of players you have to pay off). Why anyone would support it is beyond me.

You would hope that after SOPA and ACTA, that the US government would hold back on overreaches in IP expansionism, but apparently that's too much to ask for.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    This year's basis for discussion is the proposal sent out by South Africa and Mexico, in which only the signals are protected; the content of the broadcasts isn't. I believe the US also said it would support this measure as long as the protections only were afforded to that particular broadcast, and not the work itself.

    Of course, this is still a bad idea, but I thought that this would be worth mentioning.

     

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  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    And copyright laws will be even more disregarded by the population as it is impossible to know exactly what the fuck you can do with content you should own. Not that any1 has any respect for copyright at the moment.

     

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  3.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Anyone still believe this administration is on our side?

     

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  4.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Hot News Anyone?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Why anyone would support it is beyond me.

    I think I've got this one figured out.
    Broadcasters want a piece of the "income for nothing" pie, and the government's policy of "more 'protection' is always better" is seeing a bunch of old content that no longer has any protective layers around it and wants to add some.

     

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  6.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    They are creating a water republic for content in an age of massive rainfall.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    So, if it will apply to the internet, too, does that mean all those channels on my Roku that are constantly broadcasting public domain stuff will get to own the new copyrights since they'd be broadcasting it at the moment said treaty was signed?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    Unless they were taken from another broadcaster, then yes.

     

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  9.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    On the dark side they are. Fight we must.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:14am

    So a copyright on a broadcast, but not the show...
    to stop VCR's? (and their digital replacements)
    To force you to watch the comercials? What next, new broadcast DRM based on the kinectic where the comercial pauses unti you return from the kitchen/bathroom?

     

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  11.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    So the real question is, If I put up a bunch of the public domain on say a youtube channel and the law is passed, do I now own the rights to it?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    I believe it's about licensing DVRs.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    They are on the same side as every other administration, the same side as our government in the UK. Big business. They have cushy director jobs lined up for when they are done with politics so there is no way they will jeopardise that.

     

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  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    One possible fix

    One possible fix might be to get law on the books that makes public domain, or other free for public use licenses (example: Creative Commons) to trump copyright exclusions.

    Thus, even if X broadcasts Y, where Y is public domain (or CC), then Z can also broadcast Y.

    Rights override exclusions.

    The rights to use granted from author, or granted in law (like fair use rights) always override exclusions.

    If I give anyone the right to use my song, then NBC cannot take that right away by broadcasting my song.

     

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  15.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Wouldn't that mean that our own government would have to pay CSPAN for footage of their own hearings? The mind boggles.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    I see this treaty being discussed and all I can envision is the day when we declare a print publication to be a "broadcast", so that we can finally slap a tollbooth on every old book, every open-access scientific publication, and every release by government workers in the course of their official duties.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Lately, I've been having second thoughts about my stance on the whole American "right to bear arms" argument.

    Perhaps American "forefathers" soon realized that the system of government that they had implemented would never represent the will of the majority as effectively as lead would.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    (not trying to come across as against your comment, but more rhetorically..)

    And exactly what the hell is that supposed to mean. Copyright signals but not the content? What on earth would be the purpose because a strict relay/amplifier/mirror? What is even the point. That sounds like getting your signal out to a larger audience without having to pay for the cost of doing so...

     

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  19. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Quick Masnick- don your tights and cape and send out the cat signal. This is just the moment that the IDL has been waiting for.... and the rest of us the moment for laugh we've needed. To the cat cave......

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    'You would hope that after SOPA and ACTA, that the US government would hold back on overreaches in IP expansionism, but apparently that's too much to ask for.'

    that would mean using common sense as well as sense. problem is, those people concerned are yet again the same ones that haven't got a bloody clue about copyright or patents, let alone the internet. however, you cant put sense of any sort where there isn't room and it appears there are a lot of US politicians and people sitting on god knows what board that fall into that category!

     

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  21.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 11:37am

    I look forward to the day people finally rise up and take down the Corrupt Regime we live under.
    I am personally so sick of these Politicians !!!

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    I am confused by this as well. Do they mean that the pattern of electromagnetic disturbances created is what is protected? So you couldn't capture and rebroadcast those even if you could put a DVD in a player and broadcast the same content?

    If so, that's even crazier, and would be logically inapplicable to the internet, where there are no such "signals", only bits.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    What would define an internet "broadcaster"? ISPs? Backbone servers? Webhosts? Just who exactly would suddenly gain copyright of everything on the entire internet?

    And just how often did the people who proposed this bill use the term "cyber"? Six times? Eight?

     

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  24.  
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    Kenneth Michaels, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

    Anti-Aereo

    If it only protects the "signals" (whatever that means), it sounds like an anti-Aereo service treaty. With the Aereo service, the signal is captured and then rebroadcast (over the Internet) without permission from the broadcasters. How much of a transformation of the captured signal would have to take place before you have only the content and not the same "signal." This treaty would also be an issue for Slingbox as well, possibly.

    So, someone at the MPAA convinced Mexico and South Africa to introduce this treaty.

     

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  25.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Bribery at work!

    The government is just doing what the entertainment industry is bribing them to do. Businesses control the government, so why is anyone surprised at the stupidity of proposed laws? The DOJ is pretty much owned by the entertainment industry - just look at how many ex-RIAA/MPAA attorneys work "for" the DOJ and are probably still receiving paychecks from the RIAA/MPAA, but perhaps in swiss accounts to cover the bribery.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re:

    "Anyone still believe this administration is on our side?"

    Well Congress is controlled by the Republicans, the President is a Democrat.
    Since they don't cooperate with each other, nothing is getting done...

     

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  27.  
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    Jacob Blaustein, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

    If the government goes back and forth on this issue then it's much less a surprise that they would be okay with this. Off course it will be dropped again once everyone who isn't a broadcaster and internet companies that rely on public domain will rise up making this moot, I hope.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    Way back in the day, some years ago, "cyber" meant sexy times over an internet connection.

    I cannot unlearn this, so all this proposed "cyber" legislation just sounds...silly.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re:

    that is probably the 0 $ question! I would guess that the law is only for renditions of that specifically packaged public domain stuff (watermarked). I still hope that it is necessary for the broadcaster to proove the misdeed or this would be a total disaster!

     

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  30.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re:

    How sad is it that the government being tied up like that is almost certainly a good thing, compared to the alternatives?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 20th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re:

    They often manage to cooperate when it comes to extending the police/surveilance state, so long as it's not their paymasters being policed or surveiled, funnily enough.

     

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  32.  
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    Bergman (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

    So if this passes...

    If you discovered a story before the big news agencies, and tweeted it or even got on your CB radio and announced it, all the big news agencies would either have to not report it, or owe you royalties on it?

     

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  33.  
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    Al Bert (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 6:26pm

    /me strangles the air

    This shit just won't end, will it? How could it stop? Barring an eternally embattled defense against corrupt goliaths of industry and state, that is.

     

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  34.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jul 20th, 2012 @ 8:26pm

    Doomed

    This will only last until some internet nobody gets there first and 'broadcasts' some public domain work, then sues the shit out of Disney or NBCUniversal or some other Big Copy conglomerate for violating *his* broadcast copyright when they happen to do their own big budget version some years down the road.

    It'll be funny to see the "But this was supposed to benefit *us*, not the little guy. It was clearly the intent of Congress-- and we know because we paid handsomely for that intent-- to allow Big Media to lock up the public domain, not for some pissant nobody to lock it up and sue *us*!" arguments they'll try and make.

     

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  35.  
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    colin s, Jul 21st, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Proposed new broadcast copyright

    This could not be introduced without fundamental violence to copyright basics - that for copyright to arise, the subject matter must be in a material form - which can be transitory or even projected on smoke - but a broadcast per se cannot be material. The anti-decrypting laws in many territories already protect pay-tv companies and the like. Broadcasters generally do not create the content they transmit - will they fight with Viacom over whose copyright is dominant? I can hardly wait for that one.

    Broadcasts should remain as they are - non-material and therefore un-copyrightable. Leave copyright to content and associated rights holders. Technology can protect broadcasters.

    The whole idea is daft but copyright maximalists sometimes get blind-spots when it comes to theory.

     

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  36.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Sep 7th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

    Broadcast right on teh webz

    I upload a copy of 'Trolley Troubles' to Youtube, Disney spots it and uploads their own copy so they can use ContentID (YouTube's due process-lacking DMCA replacement) to get my vid pulled. I respond that the cartoon is in the Public Domain to get my vid restored before turning around and suing Disney for infringing on my broadcast right with their later video. How is that not useful?

     

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