The Second Special Session came to a close today, and the news is good. There will be no more special sessions on the subject, although the treaty stays on the committee agenda (where it will share space with several other items) for future discussion. I’ve posted the text of the WIPO Copyright Committee’s conclusions here, and have pasted the text inline below.
So what’s all this mean? It means that there’s no treaty…for now. And that, in and of itself, is a huge relief. The committee has agreed that there’s to be no treaty unless there’s consensus on the objectives and scope of the treaty. And if the past week has been any indication, consensus just isn’t happening anytime soon.
But of course, broadcasts are only one part of a whole universe of things that WIPO can and should be working on. For instance, some have suggested that the SCCR could be a good forum for exploring limitations and exceptions to copyright (like fair use in the US) can be used around the world to promote education, tech development, and other kinds of access to knowledge. The committee could also engage in more factfinding and study into the intersection of new technologies and copyright law. WIPO has a real purpose to serve, and it’d be real progress if the committee can put a stop to its nine-year obsession with this treaty and get that work done.
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION
Second Special Session of the SCCR
Geneva, June 18 to 22, 2007
of the Second Special Session of the SCCR
on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations
prepared by the Chair
Following the decision of the WIPO General Assembly in its Thirty-third Session in September/October 2006 the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) convened in the First and Second Special Sessions, from January 17 to 19, and from June 18 to 22,
The decision of the General Assembly stated that: “…the sessions of the SCCR should aim to agree and finalize, on a signal-based approach, the objectives, specific scope and object of protection with a view to submitting to the Diplomatic Conference a revised basic proposal, which will amend the agreed relevant parts of the Revised Draft Basic Proposal. The Diplomatic Conference will be
convened if such agreement is achieved. If no such agreement is achieved, all further discussions will be based on Document SCCR/15/2.”
The discussions in the Second Special Session were based on the Revised Draft Basic Proposal (SCCR/15/2 Rev) which is the official comprehensive working document of the Committee and on a non-paper prepared in April 2007 by the Chair.
During the session the delegates made their general statements and discussed thoroughly the procedure of deliberation. The intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations were given the opportunity to make statements.
In the informal discussions it became evident that during the session that it would not be possible to reach an agreement on the objective, specific scope and object of protection with a view to submitting a revised basic proposal for a diplomatic conference as mandated by the General Assembly.
While several delegations urged that the efforts to conclude a treaty on protection of broadcasting organizations be continued, it was felt that there was a need for taking time to reflect before proceeding further to explore agreement as mandated by the General Assembly.
The committee made the following recommendation:
The General Assembly
â— takes note of the current status of the work in the SCCR on the protection of broadcasting organizations and cablecasting organizations
â— acknowledges the progress that was made in the process towards better understanding of the positions of the various stakeholders,
â— recognizes the good faith efforts of all participants and stakeholder organizations throughout the process
â— expresses the wish that all parties continue to strive to achieve the objectives of protection as mandated by the General Assembly.
The General Assembly
â— decides that the subject of broadcasting organizations and cablecasting organizations be retained in the agenda of the SCCR in its regular sessions, and considers the convening of a diplomatic conference after there is agreement on the objective, specific scope and object of protection as mandated by the General Assembly in its 2006 session.
Note: this is an UNOFFICIAL VERSION of the conclusions, compiled from notes taken by EFF, IP Justice, and Public Knowledge. This version has additionally been formatted and edited by Public Knowledge, pending the release of the official text.