While we're otherwise occupied here in the U.S., broadcasters, webcasters and cablecasters are working hard overseas to extend their domain over material that goes out over their networks. They want an intellectual property right over programming they don't own — even works in the public domain.
Late yesterday, two letters went to Capitol Hill to alert Congress to what's going on, and to ask for some hearings before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) takes final action on the broadcast treaty.
You can read the letter from the non-profits, including PK, here.
A similar letter from an impressive group of companies is here.
Here's a key paragraph from the letter:
The harm to the millions of consumers represented by the undersigned organizations would be particularly great – this additional layer of rights could permit broadcasters to restrict access to content within the home and could limit lawful uses of content over the Internet. Thus, this treaty could reverse the explosion of diverse and increasingly sophisticated “user generated” content that has become part of the fabric of the Internet.