I've been in Geneva for the past three days, where the World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR 11) has been meeting to consider a treaty to protect broadcasters' rights. Thanks to Jamie Love, of the Consumer Project on Technology, an unprecedented number of public-interest oriented non-governmental organizations -- including CPTech, , UPD, IP Justice, Public Knowledge, and EDRi -- attended and intervened at the meeting to raise concerns about preserving the public's rights in the face of expanded "broadcast protection." We also spoke with many governmental delegations and other NGOs about our concerns that this treaty would mandate international adoption of technological protection measures like the U.S. broadcast flag.
We also brought new transparency to the rather closed process of treaty preparation. To that end, we've posted notes taken collaboratively with SubEthaEdit (a great Mac collaboration app) -- Notes from the full Standing Committee meeting.
Contrast Brazil's position, for example:
- Brazil is concerned with proposed inclusion of TPMs in proposed new treaty. Aware that similar provisions are in WCT and WPPT, but it's important to recall that those treaties were negotiated and adopted when there was little awareness regarding potential implications of use of TPMs. Since then, some years have gone by, and there's a growing widespread awareness that use of such measures can be quite detrimental to rights of consumers and public at large. Significant concern that anticircumvention has significant negative for exercise of rights exceptions and limitations in national laws. Important obstacle to access of public to public domain material.
Inconsistent with necessary free flow of info so important to encourage innovation and creativity in the digital environment. All of Art 16 [TPMs] counters stated objectives of new treaty as referred to in preamble. There, paragraph 4 recognizes the need to maintain balance between rights of broadcasters and larger public interest.
With that of the United States
US prepared its proposal to deal with important 21st century tech development, webcasting among them. Rome was a pioneering convention, before many states had adopted neighboring rights. Do the same here: protect broadcast, cablecast, webcast. Value added by deliverer of contents should be protected because it can be pirated regardless of its means of delivery.
At the end of three grueling days, where most of the action took place in the hallways and lunchtime briefings, the Standing Committee recommended weakly that the General Assembly consider proposing a diplomatic convention at a later date -- far less than the treaty proponents wanted.
I'll be talking about how intellectual property rights should be exercised -- versus the way they often are. This isn't a message just for activists and individuals, but one for businesses and corporations as well: You can court your customers or you can threaten to sue them. In the long run those who offer better value and better service will succeed over those who bully.