SCCR34: Atmospherics of WIPO negotiations on a broadcasting treaty

Currently, the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is engaged in negotiations on a Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, an exercise dating back to 1998. (Source: Timeline of WIPO negotiations on a Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations). The negotiating document under consideration is entitled, “Revised Consolidated Text on Definitions, Object of Protection, Rights to be Granted and Other Issues” prepared by Martin Moscoso, the former chair of the Committee.

The following is a compilation of tweets by James Love (Director, Knowledge Ecology International) which sheds some light on the current negotiations. The tweets are arranged in chronological order.

* WIPO SCCR 34 has begun. Here is the new broadcasting treaty text.

* The new chair is from Singapore, and he begins meeting with a personal note about his skills as a jazz musician. #sccr34

* The #sccr34 begins by mentioning Youtube. Will Google be a beneficiary of the new broadcast treaty.

* The proposed text on exceptions for broadcast treaty are brief, 2 sentences, one of which is a 3 step test. #sccr34

* Exceptions in Berne include mandatory for quotations and news of day, both important for broadcasting, both missing in SCCR/34/3 #sccr34

* The new WIPO text for broadcasting, SCCR/34/3, creates rights with a 50 year term, from when context is transmitted. #sccr34

* Object of Protection in SCCR/34/3, “members of public may access it from a place and at the time individually chosen by them” #sccr34

* The rights to be granted in SCCR/34/3 include exclusive right of authorizing retransmission to the public “by any means” #sccr34

* Broadcasters are defined as entity “assembling and scheduling the programmes”. Such as owners of cable channels.

* #sccr34 the current text sccr/34/3 is a triumph for owners of cable challenges, a defeat for copyright holders and the public.

* SCCR/34/3 gives rights to web pages that stream content, including user generated. Notes need for “further work” on definition. #sccr34

* It’s a statement on its poor leadership that WIPO is proposing new IP layer for webpages streaming third party owned context. #sccr34

* In brief, #sccr34 will consider 50 years of rights in content web pages stream, even when they don’t own or license the context.

* #sccr34 some delegates claim broadcast treaty is “signal based” because right does not apply when you get content from alternative source.

* #sccr34 but getting content from alternative sources will be impossible in many cases. Sccr/34/3 will create a giant orphan works problem.

* sccr/34/3 create rights in the copy of the content transmitted, even when the underlying content is otherwise in the public domain.

* sccr/34/3 creates 50y term of exclusive rights in broadcast of political speeches and news, when broadcaster had nothing to do with content.

* One older criticism of @WIPO broadcast treaty is that is sought to solve problem of the 1950’s. New text is much worse.

* You could usefully replace the word “broadcasting” from #sccr/34/3, and substitute instead “Internet streaming” since this is the proposal.

* Martin Moscoso, a consultant to WIPO, nuked these exceptions from SCCR/27/2 Rev in the new SCCR/34/3. #sccr34

* #sccr34 European Union wants legally binding broadcast/streaming treaty, but only “best practices” for copyright exceptions.

* European Union calls for artists resale right to have a place on the permanent agenda of the SCCR. #sccr34

* People who think @WIPO has no chance of diplomatic conference on new broadcast/Internet/streaming treaty are misinformed. #sccr34

* Brazil mentions the importance of “balance” and “all stakeholders” including copyright holders, in broadcast treaty text. #sccr34

* Shira now speaking for @uspto. Wants to discuss SCCR/34/3 on technical level, and its a “reasonable” basis for discussions. #sccr/34/3

* #sccr34 Shira: “still significant disagreements . . some of the most fundamental issues. Notably the object of protection and the rights”

* The 1961 Rome Convention Article 15 on exceptions was more generous than SCCR/34/3. 3-step test did not even exist then. #sccr34

* SCCR34: Atmospherics of WIPO negotiations on a broadcasting treaty


Thiru Balasubramaniam is the Geneva Representative of Knowledge Ecology International. Prior to his post as KEI’s Geneva Representative, Mr. Balasubramaniam worked at Health Action International in Colombo and at the World Health Organization in Geneva as a technical officer in the Department of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy dealing with access to medicines and intellectual property. He began his career with CPTech working on issues related to health care and intellectual property. Mr. Balasubramaniam holds a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in European History from the University of Pennsylvania.