Pretty Much Everyone Who's Not A Broadcaster Comes Out Against Broadcast Treaty

from the make-it-go-away dept

Last week, we wrote about the return of the Broadcast Treaty, a ridiculous and unnecessary treaty being debated (for the nth time) at WIPO, which would allow broadcasters to claim rights as middlemen, over things they have no claim to, including public domain works, just for broadcasting them. That story got a lot of attention this past weekend (thank you Slashdot, Reddit and Instapundit, who all mentioned our story). It even got Mythbusters' Adam Savage to weigh in and declare that he hated the idea. He's not alone.

While WIPO and the Broadcast Treaty supporters continue to pretend that there's broad support for such a treaty, reality says otherwise. A rather broad coalition of organizations that would be severely impacted by this have come out against the Broadcast Treaty. You can see the full document below, but among those who signed on are the American Television Alliance, the American Cable Association, Creative Commons, the Consumer Electronics Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, CTIA, EFF, Public Knowledge, TiVo, the Library Copyright Alliance and even Time Warner Cable (among many others). Basically, anyone and everyone who is not a broadcaster is against this. So why is it even on the table again?
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Filed Under: broadcast treaty, intellectual property, wipo

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  1. identicon
    JM Hanes, 29 Jun 2011 @ 7:24am

    ".....which would allow broadcasters to claim rights as middlemen, over things they have no claim to, including public domain works, just for broadcasting them."

    This strikes me as somewhat misleading? If ABC broadcasts Jane Eyre, they're not claiming sole rights to Jane Eyre. As the dissenters point out, content is adequately protected already. Broadcasters are saying you can't record ("fix") that particular program or performance and use it for your own purposes, without express permission. And that's where the most serious dangers lie.

    Permission presumably includes not only commanding fees for use, but controlling how/when/where you show or mount such video. What's really pernicious is that the Treaty would assign legal liabilities to anyone who "facilitates" such recordings and/or distribution. This would essentially give broadcasters de facto control over the technology of any device which could conceivably be used to record a broadcast -- or play it. We're ultimately talking about both hardware and software. Your fast forward button suddenly won't work when you try to skip the advertising; YouTube will be tamed; your cell phone will be disabled, if you try to record a live concert being filmed for commercial use.

    It's safe to say that broadcasters won't be the only ones who would be exceedingly interested in such controls! Broadcasters are after your money, but it's Big Brothers of every ilk who are standing atop the slippery slope of the precedent this Treaty would establish.

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