Feeds

Broadcast treaty needs sounding out, says WIPO

Tech companies breathe sigh of relief...for now

Security for virtualized datacentres

A controversial broadcast copyright treaty opposed by podcasters and internet broadcasters has been dealt a blow by the General Assembly of the body behind it.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) ruling body, the General Assembly, has rejected a proposal by a copyright committee to send the proposal straight to a conference to be finalised. The proposal must be approved by two more meetings before it can be the subject of an approving diplomatic conference, the General Assembly ruled.

If passed as it currently stands the treaty would create brand new intellectual property (IP) rights in television broadcasts. Designed to prevent the international pirating of TV signals, it has attracted the ire of internet broadcasters who say that it extends WIPO regulation to the internet. WIPO says a new treaty is needed to replace the currently active decades-old one, the 1961 Rome Convention.

The copyright committee of WIPO, the Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights, had proposed that the treaty progress straight to a diplomatic conference next summer, which would be the forum for its adoption by WIPO.

The Assembly, though, noted that there was not a significant enough consensus among member states and said the treaty must be the subject of two meetings in 2007 to attempt to achieve consensus. India, the US and Brazil had objected to the treaty being progressed immediately to a conference.

"A diplomatic conference is now contingent upon member states reaching consensus where there are currently great differences such as the inclusion of anti-circumvention measures in the treaty and outlawing internet retransmissions of programs," said Robin Gross, executive director of IP Justice, a civil liberties IP law pressure group which addressed the General Assembly.

"While proponents of the Broadcast Treaty hail this as a victory, since a diplomatic conference may still be convened next year, the General Assembly's refusal to rubber-stamp the decision of the SCCR Chairman is the real victory at WIPO," said Gross.

The proposed treaty creates a new right in the content of broadcasts for broadcasters, even if the creator of the content is a third party. Some content creators and legal experts have warned that this means creators will not be permanently in control of content to which they currently have the principal rights.

"This is a right just for transmitting something, and it exists on top of the existing copyright [in the broadcast]," Rufus Pollock, a director of the Open Knowledge Foundation and a member of the board of the Open Rights Group, told OUT-LAW in June.

"You retain the copyright in your material," said James Boyle at the time. Boyle is a law professor at Duke law School in North Carolina and founder of the Centre for the Study of the Public Domain. "I, the broadcaster, get a right over any copy or retransmission of my broadcast (which contains your material). Thus, if someone copied your movie from my broadcast they could infringe both sets of rights."

The proposed treaty has also been opposed by a coalition of technology companies, including Dell, HP, AT&T, Sony and others. "Creating broad new intellectual property rights in order to protect broadcast signals is misguided and unnecessary and risks serious unintended negative consequences," says a protest document signed by the technology companies in a campaign co-ordinated by digital rights activist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.