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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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    WIPO Delegates Progressing On Once-Moribund Broadcasting Treaty

    Published on 16 April 2013 @ 9:15 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    A meeting meant to advance discussions on a treaty to protect the rights of broadcasting organisations held last week at the World Intellectual Property Organization yielded substantive results, according to the meeting chair. However, civil society remains cautious about potential side effects of such an instrument, while countries appear to have divergent views on the practicalities of the treaty.

    The Inter-sessional Meeting on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations took place from 10-12 April. Delegates chose to focus on three main topics of the treaty: beneficiaries, scope of protection, and the rights to be attributed to broadcasting organisations, and clarified their positions, Alexandra Grazioli, chair of the meeting, told Intellectual Property Watch.

    According to some sources, non-governmental organisations offered very active participation in the meeting. Grazioli said the work of the inter-sessional meeting had been important for text-based work at the next session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to be held from 28 July-2 August. Delegates will then work on the Working Document for a Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations [pdf].

    During the three-day meeting, a number of delegations took the floor to deliver points of views which were sometimes divergent on essential points.

    One of the issues discussed was the interpretation of the mandate of the WIPO General Assembly, which in 2006 approved the convening of a diplomatic conference (a highest level negotiation) on the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting Organizations. The 2007 General Assembly [pdf] confirmed the 2006 decision which stipulated that “The scope of the Treaty will be confined to the protection of broadcasting and cablecasting organizations in the traditional sense,” but also asked that the convening of a diplomatic conference only be considered “after agreement on objectives, specific scope and object of protection has been achieved.”

    This brought back some discussions last week, as some would like to include internet in the scope of the treaty. Some countries said they would favour a technology-neutral approach so that solutions be found to fight unauthorised downloading on the internet.

    On the second day of the meeting, the United States proposed an approach that raised interest among delegates. According to some sources, the US said given the interest of broadcasting organisations, the reluctance of civil society and the nature of the General Assembly mandate, “it seems to us that the only realistic way to achieve results without years of additional debate would be to find a compromise based on a core of common agreement.”

    According to sources, the US suggested focussing on “true” signal piracy, which they described as real time transmission of the signal to the public without authorisation. They said the protection should be formulated so as to be technology-neutral “in the sense of the platform through which the piracy takes place as opposed to the objective protection.”

    This approach, they said, would avoid discussions about post-fixation uses. Post-fixation of a signal refers to recording of the content brought by the signal. That would be “a minimum international obligation with the freedom for countries to either implement it through whatever means they want in their national law and also with the freedom to have a greater array of rights if they so chose,” they said. Later they added that there should be protection against retransmission over the internet and protection of prebroadcast signal as well as the signal that’s been transmitted.

    This was greeted positively by India. South Africa also approved of the suggested approach, as did Brazil, according to sources.

    The European Union said the main focus of the treaty should be on the protection of the signal, not on the content. They said preventing illegal retransmission is important and this could occur post-fixation. They said it is important to “offer a full protection of signal.” Some stakeholders, such as India and some non-governmental organisations such as the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) have said that a fixed signal does not exist, as a signal is the mere means of transporting programmes.

    Japan, according to sources, supported the EU and outlined the importance of the rights of fixation and post-fixation rights. Russia also was of the same opinion. Japan issued a document [pdf] for distribution to delegates on the main issues of the broadcasting treaty.

    Broadcasting Organisations Voice Support for the Treaty

    On numerous occasions, the broadcasting organisations such as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Asia Broadcasting Union, and the US National Association of Broadcasters highlighted the importance of the treaty. The EBU said the treaty would help broadcasters to fight piracy but insisted that the making available right be included in the treaty. “If the consumer demands from the broadcaster to make its programmes available in an on-demand way, then, of course, the broadcaster will demand that there is a protection for such service,” the EBU said, according to sources.

    According to the EBU, technological innovations have increased the scope for international signal theft and other forms of misappropriation of broadcast signals. Referring to a 2012 WIPO study on the economic contribution of the copyright industries, the representative said that broadcasting is the third largest of the copyright sectors after software, representing twice as much as the music industry and more than three times that of the film industry. “This is a reason why I cannot see a justification for providing broadcasters with less rights than other rightholders have been given,” the EBU representative said.

    The CCIA replied that copyright is designed to protect creativity, and is not something “for sale to the highest bidder. “”The protection enjoyed should be to incentivise creativity and its commercialisation rather than simply be granted because stakeholders have a particular economic position.” The CCIA also said that the Brussels Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite [corrected] approach of prohibiting the misuse of signals is sufficient for the purposes of preventing piracy.

    Civil Society Concerns

    At the close of the meeting, a representative from the Brazilian Fundação Getulio Vargas law school said civil society has been opposing the treaty for a long time out of concern that it would potentially harm customers, citizens, innovation and the free flow of information on the internet. Rights included in the treaty would allow broadcasters to block competition and innovation by allowing them to control the types of device that can receive transmissions, the representative said, according to sources. It would also create new liability risks for the internet intermediaries, he said, calling for an approach that would not infringe citizens’ rights and all other stakeholders, and would respect access to knowledge, to culture, the freedom of expression, and the public domain.

    Talks for the broadcasting treaty date back well over a decade, and nearly reached the level of a diplomatic conference in 2007 before breaking down over differences (IPW, WIPO, 22 June 2007; IPW, WIPO, 22 June 2007).

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. After Beijing And Marrakesh, WIPO Copyright Committee Feels The Pressure | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      […] the scope of protection, and the rights to be attributed to broadcasting organisations (IPW, WIPO, 16 April 2013). This session allowed delegations to clarify their position, according to the Chair of this […]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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