June 18-27,2007 – Geneva

We call upon WIPO delegates to reject the proposed WIPO Broadcast Treaty

After more than 9 years of discussions, efforts to find a treaty formulation that deals with piracy of broadcast signals, but which does not harm copyright owners and the legitimate users of broadcasts have failed. Piracy of broadcast signals is already adequately dealt under existing laws and treaties. Broadcasters are asking for exclusive rights that will change their bargaining positions in terms of the right to exploit and commercialize works. The treaty will harm both the creative communities, and the public, who will have to negotiate the required permissions and pay for these new rights.

WIPO should not be creating new economic rights for broadcasters and they should certainly not be creating such new economic rights for cable companies or the companies that aggregate content on cable channels, since the public already has to pay to receive such information through subscription services. There is no shortage of existing laws that make cable piracy illegal.

The demanders of the treaty, the broadcasting industry, have repeatedly stated at WIPO that they will not accept any treaty that does not grant them intellectual property rights in information they did not create and do not otherwise own under copyright law. This is inconsistent with the signal-based approach mandated by the WIPO General Assembly.

It is also important to be aware of the special, but obviously central issue of the impact of a treaty on the Internet.

The Internet has created immense opportunities for the increased flow and dissemination of information and knowledge. It has also played a crucial role in greatly reducing the disparity in access to knowledge between developed and developing countries.

The relationship between the treaty and the Internet is highly problematic. A treaty that establishes non-copyright controls over reuses of information over the Internet will harm access to knowledge.

  • Civil Society Coalition
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Electronic Information for Libraries
  • European Digital Rights
  • International Federation of Library Associations
  • IP Justice
  • Knowledge Ecology International
  • Public Knowledge
  • Third World Network