SCCR 41: KEI statement on the proposed WIPO broadcasting treaty

On Monday, 28 June 2021, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) delivered the following statement on the proposed WIPO broadcasting treaty.

SCCR 41 – KEI statement on broadcasting

New measures to address signal theft are one thing. But granting durable post-fixation rights to entities that just retransmit works by authors, performers, and producers is a bad idea. Post-fixation rights are controversial because they create thickets of related rights that make it more costly and difficult to clear, lead to perpetual protection if assigned at the time of each broadcast, and create a massive expansion of rights to non-creative entities, if extended to webcasting.

While some negotiators see the WIPO broadcasting treaty as a treaty that will benefit local broadcasters, that is likely to be true only in the short term. And even in the short term, the more ambitious versions of the treaty are also designed to create economic rights for large foreign corporations that “schedule the content” for cable and satellite channels, such as Disney, Vivendi, and AT&T.

In the longer run, the treaty would create a new legal regime that will establish rights for giant technology firms largely based in the United States or Europe, that are creating global platforms for video and sound recording content, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, all companies that could qualify as broadcasters by owning a single broadcast station. The predictable outcome of any new intellectual property rights for broadcasting that includes transmissions, delivered at the time and choosing of the user, would be to give these companies intellectual property rights in someone else’s creative works.

Regarding the work of the Friends of the Chair in relation to the broadcasting treaty, we request WIPO to provide further details of the textual proposals submitted thus far.