Thanks to our friends at EFF, CPTech and IP Justice, we got excellent reports covering this week's meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights (SCCR) on the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty. According to those reports and those of others attending, our side did a great job of moving countries closer to the position PK and its allies have taken: that should there be a broadcasting treaty, it should only protect against signal theft, and should not provide IP-like protection for a broadcast signal. This in turn led to a very long series of interventions in opposition to moving the treaty to a diplomatic conference, which is the final step towards approval. Even the US delegation, which had been somewhat supportive of the treaty in the past, opposed moving towards a diplomatic conference at this time.
But it was all for naught. At the eleventh hour, SCCR Chairman Jukka Liedes of Finland made a recommendation for a diplomatic conference on the treaty in summer 2007, essentially prohibited any futher discussion and gaveled the meeting to an end, declaring the recommendation adopted. Our side is still in shock.
Where do we go from here? The SCCR's proposal will be considered by the WIPO General Assembly at the end of the month, and most expect that the General Assembly will vote to approve the proposal. But that is far from the end of the line. The disagreement over the scope of the treaty is not going away. There will be yet another draft treaty that will be discussed (and undoubtedly fought over) at the next SCCR meeting in November. And according to reports, the diplomatic conference is scheduled to be 3 weeks long – which should be enough time for our side to either build a consensus against the bill or for a signal theft approach.