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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 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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