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Battle Lines Drawn Over Broadcast Treaty

Postby IceCube » Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:15 am

As <a href=http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=1290 target=_blank>reported earlier</a>, WIPO is currently considering a broadcasting and webcasting treaty that would give rights to those disseminating intellectual property for 50 years. The treaty has caused a lot of discontent and a number of US based companies and organizations are stepping forward to express their opposition.

The EFF <a href=http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004913.php#004913 target=_blank>posted an unofficial transcript</a> of a couple of meetings that discussed, among other things, the webcasting treaty.

When the webcasting treaty was first proposed, it was almost unanimously rejected and was effectively tossed out. This didn't kill the webcasting treaty as it came back in to other provisions set forth by WIPO. This caused a stir and discontent as one can see in the meeting's unofficial transcript. The unofficial transcript eventually shows that the matter of webcasting was seemingly deferred to a later time.

Now that news travelled around on what WIPO was up to, a number of US based companies have passed along a <a href=http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/broadcasting_treaty/wipo-statement-20060905.pdf target=_blank>letter opposing the broadcasting treaty</a>: "If the treaty moves forward in any form, we believe that the current rights-based approach of the treaty must be abandoned. Creating broad new intellectual property rights in order to protect broadcast signals is misguided and unnecessary, and risks serious unintended negative consequences."

What may be of interest to many is the complete list of those signing this letter. The list of companies and organizations signing this letter are the following:

<ul><li><a href=http://www.aallnet.org/ target=_blank>American Association of Law Libraries</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ala.org/ target=_blank>American Library Association</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.arl.org/ target=_blank>Association of Research Libraries</a></li>
<li><a href=http://att.sbc.com/gen/landing-pages?pid=3308 target=_blank>AT&T</a></li>
<li>Broadband Service Providers Association</li>
<li><a href=http://www.cdt.org/ target=_blank>Center for Democracy & Technology</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.cingular.com/ target=_blank>Cingular Wireless</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ccianet.org/ target=_blank>Computer and Communications Industry Association</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ce.org/ target=_blank>Consumer Electronics Association</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.cptech.org/ target=_blank>Consumer Project on Technology</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ctia.org/ target=_blank>CTIA - The Wireless Association</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.dell.com/ target=_blank>Dell Inc.</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.eff.org/ target=_blank>Electronic Frontier Foundation</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.freepress.org/ target=_blank>FreePress</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.hp.com/ target=_blank>Hewlett Packard Company</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.hrrc.org/ target=_blank>Home Recording Rights Coalition</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.intel.com/ target=_blank>Intel Corporation</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.immf.net/ target=_blank>International Music Managers Forum</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.isoc.org/ target=_blank>Internet Society</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ipjustice.org/ target=_blank>IP Justice</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.mediaaccess.org/ target=_blank>Media Access Project</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.mlanet.org/ target=_blank>Medical Library Association</a></li>
<li><a href=http://pirg.org/ target=_blank>National Association of State PIRGs</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.panasonic.com/flash.asp target=_blank>Panasonic Corporation of North America</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.publicknowledge.org/articles target=_blank>Public Knowledge</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.radioshackcorporation.com/ target=_blank>RadioShack Corporation</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.sla.org/ target=_blank>Special Libraries Association</a></li>
<li>Sony Electronics Incorporated</li>
<li><a href=http://www.tivo.com/ target=_blank>TiVo Inc.</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.public-domain.org/?q=node/47 target=_blank>Union for the Public Domain</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.usiia.org/ target=_blank>U.S. Internet Industry Association</a></li>
<li>U.S. Music Managers Forum</li>
<li><a href=http://www.uspirg.org/ target=_blank>U.S. Public Interest Research Group</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.ustelecom.org/ target=_blank>USTelecom</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.verizon.com/ target=_blank>Verizon Communications Inc.</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.verizonwireless.com/ target=_blank>Verizon Wireless</a></li>
<li><a href=http://www.law.yale.edu/isp/ target=_blank>Yale Information Society Project</a></li>
</ul>

Considering the broadcast treaty was even rejected by the US representative, the issues surrounding this treaty seem to go deeper than a judicial showdown.
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Postby Alex H » Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:15 am

For those who havn't been following, the broadcast treaty essentially creates a new form of intellectual property - a broadcast.

Even though the content of the broadcast is already copyrighted, there is another layer of property on top of that.

So if CNN decide to air some 80 year old footage that's in the public domain, you can't republish that material if you used the CNN source.

(And yes, as well as being sued by the MPAA, you'd be sued by the broadcast-mafia equivelent if you capped a movie off the TV).
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