Intellectual Property

Restrictive Copyright Treaty Back In Play

Broadcasters and Webcasters round the world would be included in the agreement


As we noted last June, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Broadcast Treaty—which is a restrictive copyright treaty that aims to create and extend expansive rights to signals of broadcasters and webcasters—is back. Although it has been revamped, it still incorporates the two most controversial proposals from the original treaty text. The last WIPO meeting in July firmed the course of the negotiations, proceeding on the basis of a single draft text released on July 24th called the "chair's non-paper" [pdf].

The treaty will apply to "traditional broadcasters", but what that actually means is still a source of disagreement. Japan, for instance, wants "traditional broadcasters" to include TV and radio but not webcasts. Japan says these proposals are supported by Brazil and India. However, the US position reaches back to 2005, and once again pushes for a "technologically neutral" approach, which would expand the definition of traditional broadcasting to include cablecasters and webcasters.