September 15, 2006 | Michael Holloway

Broadcast Treaty will stifle tech innovation, freedom of expression and access to knowledge

There are two distinct concerns connected to the proposed WIPO Broadcast Treaty, one is structural / organisational - in terms of a lack of democratic accountability - and the other relates to an unprecedented expansion of protectionist legislation.

Two years on from the proposed 'Development Agenda at WIPO', member states, NGOs and technology firms remain unhappy at this global legislative body's evident lack of democratic accountability. WIPO officials this week paid little attention to objections from India, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa or even the United States: “Despite WIPO’s claim that it is ‘member-driven’ and ‘consensus based’ in its decision making, SCCR [Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights] Chairman Liedes unilaterally decided it would be the recommendation of the Committee to the WIPO General Assembly to convene a diplomatic conference in July 2007 to finalize the treaty,” said Robin Gross, Director of IP Justice.

As for the specific content of this new legal code, Boing Boing reports it will "give webcasters the right to steal from public domain, Creative Commons and GPL." We are yet to consider the proposals in detail so have no firm policy, however the creation of broad, new IP rights without empirical certainty of their economic, social and cultural benefit is quite clearly mistaken.

We are very keen to hear your opinions on these concerns.

The UK Podcasters Association have a petition to WIPO against the proposed legislation.

Further information / links on our Broadcast Treaty wiki page

Comments (3)

  1. Michael:
    Sep 15, 2006 at 01:24 PM

    One supporter has already got in touch to highlight organised resistance amongst the podcasting community.

    "UKPA (UK Podcasters Association) has been working for months with the Irish PodRepBod, the German Podcastverband, the Open Rights Group in the UK and the EFF in the US to resist aspects of the Broadcast Treaty, which many podcasters, podcast users and a growing number of politicians feel are inimical to the healthy development of grassroots new media culture. The issues are about copyright, and the ongoing ownership of content."

  2. The Open Rights Group : Blog Archive » WIPO Broadcast Treaty scheduled for further scrutiny:
    Oct 06, 2006 at 02:16 PM

    [...] There are concerns proposed WIPO legislation will further extend the social and cultural dominance of trad broadcasters over the internet, as mentioned here on this blog. An announcement this week by the WIPO General Assembly regarding the draft Broadcast Treaty offers encouragement to activists, and has been hailed as a “huge victory for the public interest.” Reports call for celebration on two counts. [...]

  3. chrs:
    Sep 15, 2006 at 01:36 PM

    I haven't read the details, but if the summary at Boing Boing is to be believed and broadcasters of material will suddenly get some kind of ownership of material by broadcasting it, then it seems frankly bizarre. Surely the whole purpose of IP is to give creators of material a (time limited) set of rights over its use. The theory is that this protects them and encourages them to produce more content. I fail to see how giving rights to broadcasters encourages creativity in anyway.