Broadcasting Treaty Back From The Dead (Again)

from the it-just-won't-die dept

While the negotiations on the awful ACTA treaty are getting more attention these days, another awful treaty seems to be coming back from the dead. WIPO's Broadcasting Treaty has been out there for years. The idea is to add more new copyrights for content that's "broadcast," even though it's usually already covered by copyright. The end result would actually do significant harm to the public domain, because a broadcaster who broadcasts public domain content could then claim a "broadcast right" over that content -- basically reclaiming it from the public domain. The entire treaty is based on the faulty idea that ownership of content is somehow socially beneficial, when there's little evidence that this is true.

Some powerful entertainment industry folks have been trying to push this treaty through, as a way to force various governments to pass new laws that grant them these new copyrights, that will really be useful in keeping competitors from broadcasting certain content. So far, the treaty has repeatedly stalled out. Last year, we were encouraged when the Senate Judiciary Committee admitted that it was greatly troubled by the proposed treaty, noting that it would significantly harm consumers' rights. Soon after that, the treaty died, though we warned that certain interests would keep on pushing it.

And, indeed, that's exactly what's happening. At a recent WIPO meeting, it appears that the Broadcasting Treaty is back on the table, and doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. There are considerable disagreements over what it should include, so it might not move forward, but it's disheartening that it appears the US representatives at WIPO seem to have reversed their earlier position, and are now saying that webcast content should get this totally unnecessary and damaging "broadcast right" as well as content broadcast on other media. Hopefully the wrangling over terms will cause this treaty to die again -- but considering how much of an effort big media companies have put behind it, you can bet it won't go down without a fight.

Filed Under: broadcasting treaty, copyright, intellectual property, international trade, treaties, wipo
Companies: wipo

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  1. identicon
    another mike, 12 Nov 2008 @ 2:56pm


    That would be funny to see; "TV Station KRAP in Podunk USA sues all major broadcasters." Some guy with a shortwave station, with or without viewers tuned in, can broadcast something and take the copyright and control that work's entire life.

    Or, as a protective measure, we all get together and broadcast everything through ham, shortwave, major cable/satellite outlets, public access channels, slingboxes, youtube, everything everywhere, then claim the new broadcast copyright and apply creative commons licenses to the whole lot.

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