NGO/Industry Statement on WIPO Broadcast Treaty
NGO/Industry Statement on WIPO Broadcast Treaty
NGO/Industry Statement on WIPO Broadcast Treaty

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    A “Statement Concerning the WIPO Broadcast Treaty Provided by Certain Information Technology, Consumer Electronics and Telecommunications Industry Representatives, Public Interest Organizations, and Performers' Representatives” was released today. Public Knowledge is a signatory, as are 35 other companies, organizations and trade associations, including AT&T, Verizon, TiVo, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Sony, Panasonic, Radio Shack, and a number of groups representing artists. The statement, which has already been distributed to a number of delegations attending next week's meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights expresses many of the same concerns these groups have expressed before, for example:

    • there is absolutely no justification for the treaty – no one has clearly identified what problem would be solved by giving broadcasters a 50 year intellectual property-like right in their signals.

    • the treaty differs radically from US law

    • any limitations or exceptions on this 50 year right, including fair use are voluntary, not mandatory

    • technological protection measures (TPM) provisions would require governments to technologically protect broadcast signals, opening a door for the reinstatement of the broadcast flag. This provision could permit broadcasters to control signals both inside and outside the home.

    • Internet service providers and other intermediaries would face the threat of direct or secondary liability for infringement of the 50 year right.

    What I find striking about the statement is not just the number of signatories – it is the number of actual companies that have signed in their own name, particularly HP and Dell, who have been nearly absent in most of our copyright and technology policy battles. Hopefully, this will spell the beginning of increased involvement by computer hardware manufacturers.