SCCR36 A look at 2 big issues: Deferred transmission and Term of Protection of Broadcasts

First: Deferred transmission. What is a deferred transmission?

Here are the definitions in Daren Tang’s (the Chair of the SCCR) text of the treaty. Available here:

(f) “near simultaneous transmission” means a transmission for the reception by the public by any means of a programme-carrying signal broadcast that is delayed only to the extent necessary to accommodate time differences or to facilitate the technical transmission of the programme-carrying signal.

(g) “deferred transmission” means a transmission for the reception by the public by any means of a programme-carrying signal broadcast delayed in time, other than a near simultaneous transmission, including transmissions made in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and a time individually chosen by them.

(h) “pre-broadcast signal” means a programme-carrying signal transmitted to a broadcasting [/cablecasting] organization, or to an entity acting on its behalf, for the purpose of subsequent transmission to the public.

This is really still about the scope of the treaty. How far will it go and for how long? What is the object of protection in this treaty? Is it really about signal? How can you separate signal from content when one is talking about on demand (as in Netflix and other streaming services) or delayed, deferred? transmission?

That takes us to the related secong big issue: the term of protection. According to Tang’s treaty text:

Term of Protection

The term of protection to be granted to broadcasting [or cablecasting] organizations under this Treaty shall last, at least until the end of a period of 50 years computed from the end of the year in which the programme-carrying signal was transmitted.

Finally regarding the term of protection, we found the most absurd provision IF this is truly about protecting the transmission of a signal. WIPO wants to mandate a minimum of 50 years of protection for broadcasting organizations, for works they did not create or license. Just transmit.

Why 50 years?

Think about 50 year term. Broadcasts from 1967 (the Landing on the moon) or even 1968 (events related to JFK or Martin Luther King) would still be protected and could not be re transmitted without permission of the first broadcasters today.

Any broadcast transmitted today would be protected and controlled by broadcasters and cablecasters until 2068.

One more concern: if nothing prevent a broadcasting organization from re broadcasting/retransmitting many times would the term start again each time?

If so, the practical effect of the treaty will be to provide protection that is effectively perpetual, with the rights only held by broadcasters, even after copyrights expire. Every transmission creates a new 50 year term, for that transmission. Nothing ever goes into the public domain?

The devil is in the big picture and in the details.

In the WIPO 2007 General Assembly, member states had agreed to only discuss “a signal protection treaty” but it looks as if we are now back at discussing protection of broadcast, pre-broadcast and delayed transmission or deferred transmission. Apparently, it starts with protecting a “live broadcast” (a soccer game or other sport or public events) and also the broadcast before its transmission and continues with protecting after as on demand transmission. How long after the live event? For ever is certainly not acceptable.