The Return Of The Broadcast Treaty

from the zombie-that-never-dies dept

Not this again. For the better part of a decade, broadcasters have made efforts to create a “broadcast treaty” which would grant broadcasters extra special rights above and beyond copyright. Under such a rule, a broadcaster who put on public domain material could then claim a “broadcast right” to the content and lock it up. It doesn’t make any sense, and thankfully, every time it’s been introduced it’s ended up not getting approval. Honestly, I’d thought this was one issue that had finally died… but I should never underestimate those who seek greater intellectual property rights. Apparently, folks at WIPO are once again trying for a Broadcast Treaty. Thankfully, opposition is already organizing:

The advocates of a broadcasting treaty have not shown that there is an problem in the area of piracy that cannot be addressed by existing laws on copyright or theft of service. The treaty is in essence an attempt by corporate broadcasting entities to change outcomes of licensing negotiations, by giving the broadcasters a right that they would otherwise have to acquire by contract, in return for something they would give the copyright holders.


In its most aggressive formulations in terms of rights of casting entities, the treaty would provide up to 50 years or even perpetual exclusive rights in content for which the broadcaster did not create and does not own the copyright. This creates a thicket of permissions that makes it much more difficult to redistribute and reuse content.

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Comments on “The Return Of The Broadcast Treaty”

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A Guy says:

So, if I bought a license (i.e. mp3, cd, dvd) then streamed it, to myself perhaps, I could then claim ownership of that streamed content. With those ownership rights I could then authorize others to stream copies of said performance that I now own. I know a lot of file sharers that would jump on that deal in a second.

MrWilson says:

It just illustrates the problem with the solutions, once again.

Every solution that the entertainment industry comes up with for the symptom that is “piracy” is more extreme laws and more extreme enforcement. These “solutions” will never eradicate “piracy” or make “pirates” want to pay money for over-priced digital commodities.

So-called “piracy” is the consumer and the Market telling the entertainment industry that their business models are not working. The fact that “piracy” thrives long after the death of Napster (and its zombie rebirth as an RIAA-sanctioned suck-fest of a “service”) and multitudes of lawsuits against Catholic schoolgirls and dead people and threats of lost internet connections indicates that more and harsher laws and enforcement are not incentive enough to make Joe Twelve-Pack forgo his high fructose corn syrupy combo pack at McDonalds or his $5 Starbucks mocha frappucalories in order to spend too much on digital downloads that makes some music middleman and his lawyer happy in their pants.

Anonymous Coward says:

Police State

Some segments of the copyright-using industries are never satisfied. They will not stop until they have imposed a police state on the rest of us, with the police state being directed for the benefit of copyright holders. We, the people, do not like living in a police state. There is altogether way too much police state already. Remember liberty? Remember the wars which have been fought to preserve liberty? Remember how it was the guys who wanted a police state who were the bad guys? That is why it says “Lest We Forget” on the memorials. Wander around and smell the history sometime.

In any case, government-granted monopoly privileges are a bad thing, regardless of the morality, from an economic viewpoint. It’s the economy, stupid.

out_of_the_blue says:

That's what I fear from Google's book project:

‘put on public domain material could then claim a “broadcast right” to the content and lock it up’ — Google is doing exactly that: re-publishing public domain books (and some /still/ in active copyright) material, which in future Google may claim to /own/, excused for now by making a big show of it being a public service. — Catchphrase: Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

Never underestimate greed.
“…I should never underestimate those who seek greater intellectual property rights.”

abc gum says:

Re: That's what I fear from Google's book project:

“Google is doing exactly that: re-publishing public domain books (and some /still/ in active copyright) material, which in future Google may claim to /own/, excused for now by making a big show of it being a public service.”

Google is doing what?

Are you saying that I can not freely use an item in the public domain simply because Google has scanned it?

Oh – I see, you mean after this stupid “treaty” is agreed to.

hmm (profile) says:

i can solve "piracy"

all it would take is about 1200 lines of text in total somewhere around the size of a typical techdirt post.

The answer?

The president’s book of nuclear codes..after all if every american city is a smoldering radioactive wasteland with bits and pieces of (law-abiding) citizens everywhere then no-one can pirate anything ever again!

The alternative of course (that hollywood has already begun to test out) is to make content of such appallingly low quality that no-one wants to “pirate” it even if you threw a box and label printer at them.

Jim Benn (profile) says:

Content Rip off.

This sounds like a move that Vito Corleone (sp?) would pull. Who ARE these people, anyway? This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. They will not be happy until every time any song, cover art, snippet of a song, a fragment of the sheet music, a WORD of phrase from a lyric, poem, book, or short story is “made available” anywhere, at any time, for any duration, they get the amount of money THEY think is sufficient. Without regard to the CREATOR of the “art”, or anything else but their “bottom line”. I’m surprised they haven’t submitted a patent for lungs, or the act of breathing. They need to be stopped, permanently. LEGALLY.


rhhardin (user link) says:

Everything you learned about intellectual property is wrong

Intellectual property (copyright, patent) are all corporate rent-seeking schemes, that is, using government power to wring more out of the market than you could get otherwise.

But also, interestingly, it does not increase creativity. Mostly it moves creativity into defending and obtaining patents and copyrights and away from pleasing the consumer.

See Michele Boldrin at on the topic

Think about defeating intellectual property in general rather than this or that bad idea stemming from it.

R. W. Stravros (user link) says:

Copyright laws need major revamp

Here’s how I see it. A broadcaster should have the right to a copyright on the material they broadcast, BUT if I capture the content from my living room, that is a completely intellectual property than theirs. Only I was able to create the experience that I saw. Yes, I probably own the original creator of the content some money, but not the broadcaster. I feel the same way about sports. Networks broadcast a game from their “sky box” and on field cameras. That’s one experience. I have a different experience sitting in my seat at the even … so I have a different “angle” and perspectve than they do.

Natanael L (profile) says:

Re: Copyright laws need major revamp

This is how I see it: broadcasting something should give you NO new additional rights automatically out of the blue. Whatever you broadcast, they rights you get is the rights you are given by the copyright holder. If there are no copyright holder (public domain works), you can not get any exclusive rights.

Tom Smith says:

This happened to a guy who shot the public released work that Anonymous used to make its Message To Scientology. Remember the cloud footage they put the computer voice over?

Well a Viacom owned station broadcasted a journalistic story about the Anonymous vs. Scientology fight. Then sent out DMCA Takedown Notices & Copyright Infringement Complaints to anyone who posted the video on their Youtube Accounts. They bitched about anyone who posted the video the time lapse video & the Anonymous Version. Since the broadcasted the video during a News story, they fought for their own imposed rights to any version of the video.

Their claim to copyright affected a few people, including the guy who originally shot, edited & uploaded the original time lapse cloud video. He had to fight with Youtube & Viacom over his rights to his own original work, which he published with a Creative Commons Copyright.

It finally got sorted out, but even without it being legal, they still fought for their imposed rights to the original work.

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