Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The WIPO Broadcasting Treaty – A Solution in Search of a Problem?

WIPO has been trying to promote a broadcasting treaty now for about two decades. The 38th Session of the SCCR opened with an unusually explicit call from Director General Francis Gurry to push this forward soon to a diplomatic conference. Here is the first session, where he delivered the opening remarks. While the world could benefit from a successful return to multilateralism on the IP and other fronts, a badly conceived and unnecessary treaty will not be helpful. 

I attended SCCR 36 last May on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition and this is what I said at that time.

The Canadian delegation is currently entrusted with the responsibility of speaking for Group B. Hopefully this will not stop Canada from making its own points which I hope will address the following:

1.   Will Canada oppose post fixation rights for broadcasters, and if not, why not?
2.   Does the proposed text in SCCR/37/8 deal with the “internet”? What is meant by “computer networks” in the definition of “broadcasting”?
3.   Will Canada support or oppose extending the broadcasters’ right to works that are (a) originated on the Internet, or (b) made available on demand, over the Internet?
4.   Will Canada support or oppose a post fixation right for works where copyright has expired, or which are not protected by copyright?
5.   Will Canada limit the broadcasting right to traditional television and radio delivered without encryption and paid subscriptions?   
6.   Can Canada allow countries to impose formalities on the right, if they want, as they can under the Rome Convention?

It is important that Canada stand up and be counted. Our delegation is well informed. However, both domestic and international audiences need to know where Canada stands. Canada’s profile at WIPO has been too low for too long, as I have pointed out in this book chapter for CIGI.


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