Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Broadcasters' Rights Redux - Decade Long Discussion Continues

Gurry/Liedes/Musungu/von Finckenstein

The indispensable IP-Watch reports (subscription required) in on the first day of the current SCCR meeting in Geneva that:
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry stressed at the outset of the 25 May information session that it was intended to be informational only and not a negotiation on a former proposed treaty strengthening IP rights for broadcasters that collapsed in the negotiation process in 2007 (IPW, WIPO, 22 June 2007)
Mr. Gurry is apparently seeking to lower expectations that there will be a WIPO Broadcasters' Rights Treaty. The current and long standing Chair of the SCCR, Jukka Liedes, has made is clear for a decade that he is personally committed to such an outcome and has gone to great lengths to make it happen. Despite his failure to deliver a treaty, and his clear preference on the issue, he is still the chair, perhaps because nobody else has seriously stepped forward to change the guard.

It may be noted in Canada that broadcasters are now currently trying to make a case to the CRTC that they should be paid a "fee for carriage" for "free" over the air basic channels. This has interesting copyright analogies and implications. This is clearly causing much consternation at the CRTC, resulting in its normally unflappable Chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein, now doing back flips. These issues get very touchy when so much money is involved. I wrote about this two years ago here.

At any rate, the initial day of expert presentations apparently included a lot of push for such a treaty and a presentation on the public interest perspective and a call for balance from Sisule Musungu, who is someone to watch. Presentations from the event are available here: Alberto, McFall, Mohan, Mohotty, Musungu, and Vermaele [ppt].


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