IP Justice Intervention Statement on the Basic Draft Proposal for Broadcast Treaty

17 -19 January 2007 ~ WIPO SCCR 1st Session ~ Geneva

.pdf of stmt

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I speak on behalf IP Justice, an international civil liberties organization that promotes balanced intellectual property law. Based in San Francisco, IP Justice also maintains representatives in Switzerland, and Italy.

IP Justice strongly recommends that Member States remember the concerns which led up to the very clear decision of the 2006 General Assembly. There it was decided that this committee should – as a precondition for the convening of a Diplomatic Conference – reach a consensus revised draft basic proposal on a signal-based approach.

I want to remind Delegates that, at the international level, broadcasters’ rights are regulated not only by the Rome Convention and the TRIPS-Agreement as the Chair’s Non-Papers suggest. They are also regulated by the Brussels Satellite Convention, which takes a signal-theft approach, an approach that most delegates have stated a preference for during these negotiations. This is what the 2006 General Assembly had in mind when it was speaking in its recommendation for a signal-based approach.

Changing the definition will not help to solve the current problems. The General Assembly was very clear in stating that a consensus paper is needed before a Diplomatic Conference will be convened. Such consensus will not be reached by merely changing the definition – neither in the draft proposal, where this was done before without solving the problem, nor in the Chair’s non-papers. The problem is not the definition. It is the attempt to impose an exclusive rights approach that offends many delegations. To delete these provisions and tie the treaty down to a real signal-based approach in the sense of signal-theft is, in our thinking, the only way to solve the problems most delegations have with the current proposal.

Apart from this, three major problems still exist in the current draft proposal SCCR/15/2 that delegates should keep in mind:

• the current proposal continues to regulate Internet transmissions of programming in Articles 9 and 14 and the Definition of Retransmission in Article 5d, which significantly threatens bloggers, podcasters, and other innovative Internet users of media and by this broadens the scope of the treaty immensely.

• The proposal still has not deleted the measures against the circumvention of technological restrictions – which already have shown their harmful effect on the public domain, and on artists’ and consumers’ rights to use media.

• Limitations and Exceptions still are not mandatory, even though they are the most important means of balancing the interests of the beneficiaries of the treaty with the interests of the public as a whole.

Intellectual property rights can foster economic and social development. The Broadcast Treaty in its current form will not help to reach these aims and does not, in our understanding, comply with the decision of the 2006 General Assembly.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.