IP Justice Media Release ~ 2 May 2006

Contact: Robin D. Gross, IP Justice Executive Director
Telephone: +1.415.553.6261
Email: robin@ipjustice.org

WIPO Debates Fate of Treaty on Broadcasting and Webcasting:
Controversial Provisions Remain in Treaty Draft Over Majority Objections

(Geneva)  IP Justice is in Geneva to participate at the 14th session of the Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights (SCCR) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 1-5 May 2006.  WIPO is the United Nations Specialized Agency that writes intellectual property rights treaties.   This meeting is the final SCCR meeting before the WIPO General Assembly votes this fall to send the Broadcasting Treaty to a Diplomatic Conference for final treaty drafting.

The main agenda item at the 14th SCCR Session is a proposed treaty to create a broad range of new rights for broadcasting companies.   The United States has proposed that the treaty also regulate Internet transmissions of media, or Webcasting.

The proposed Broadcasting Treaty would create entirely new rights for broadcasting companies at the expense of the public interest and artists’ rights.  At previous SCCR meetings, numerous Member States expressed discomfort with the US proposal to widen the scope of the treaty to include webcasting and with the unpopular anti-circumvention rights for broadcasters.  Yet, despite the stated concerns from Member States, the provisions that received the most objection remain within the draft treaty proposal.

“It is difficult to accept an undemocratic process from a United Nations Specialized Agency that is drafting an international treaty on broadcasting,” said IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross.  “But it seems the webcasting and anti-circumvention provisions remain glued to the text of the treaty despite the will of the majority of WIPO Member States,” Gross said.

At the conclusion of this 14th Session, the committee chairman is supposed to publish a revised draft treaty that reflects the concerns expressed at this meeting.  It remains to be seen whether the wishes of the majority of Member States will be accounted for in the next draft.  Without such an accounting, it is likely that the WIPO General Assembly will vote this Fall to reject a Diplomatic Conference for a Broadcasting Treaty.

More Info:

IP Justice: “Top 10 Reasons to Reject the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty”

IP Justice Statement on Broadcasting Treaty and Webcasting at 14th SCCR

IP Justice Op-Ed on the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty in “IP-Watch” (1 May 2006)

Draft Basic Proposal for the WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations Including Non-Mandatory Appendix on the Protection in Relation to Webcasting (SCCR 14/2)

Proposal by Colombia Concerning Article 16 of the Consolidated Text for the Draft Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations (SCCR 14/4)

IP Justice Webpage on WIPO Broadcasting Treaty