Feeds

WIPO broadcast treaty defeated by web activists

Copyright add-on fails to find consensus

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

A controversial new intellectual property right due to be created by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has been successfully opposed by a coalition of web activists and the technology industry.

WIPO has spent nearly 10 years gathering international agreement over a new deal for broadcasters which would give them intellectual property rights over broadcasts which would exist in addition to existing copyright laws.

But a campaign spearheaded by activist groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and involving thousands of podcasters and bloggers, joined with technology industry giants such as Intel and defeated the move last week.

The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCRR) of WIPO met last week to finalise a recommendation that the new proposal go to a special conference for ratification by WIPO as a whole.

At the end of the meeting, though, there was not enough agreement between member nations about the proposal and the committee recommended that the proposal not be forwarded to a diplomatic conference for adoption.

Gwen Hinze is the international affairs director for the EFF. She told weekly technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio about the opposition to the plans.

"If you create a new layer of rights that sit on top of copyright from a consumer's point of view that raises questions about access to information, so information that might otherwise be in the public domain as a matter of copyright law, the exceptions and limitations wouldn't apply and that raises some concerns about access to knowledge," said Hinze.

Podcasters were worried that the new right would affect material they produced and their ability to disseminate it on their own terms. One and a half thousand of them signed an EFF open letter to WIPO protesting against the move.

Consumer electronics companies also protested because the plan contained technological protection measures which they feared could give broadcasters control over television recording equipment, such as TiVO boxes.

WIPO wanted the new rule to replace the Rome Convention of 1961, which it says is out of date and does not cover cable televisions services.

The SCCRR had tried last autumn to have the rule proceed straight to diplomatic conference for ratification, but the General Assembly said that two more meetings were needed to hammer out international consensus on the move.

Opponents agree that television signal piracy is a problem that must be solved, but say that it can be solved with a 'signals based approach' rather than by creating an entire new intellectual property right.

"There is quite a significant body of people who have joined together and would back a signal based approach to a treaty," said Hinze. "So, for instance, in January there was a joint statement from a number of civil society groups, a number of tech companies and a number of library groups all in support of a signal based approach, giving broadcasters protection for their signals but not creating an exclusive rights approach that would have the unintended consequences that I have raised."

See: OUT-LAW Radio

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

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

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.