January 30, 2007 | By Gwen Hinze

Blogging WIPO: The Broadcasting Treaty Creeps Forward Despite Disagreement

It's been just over a week since the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights met in Geneva with the intention of finalizing a new signal-based Broadcasting Treaty to be the basis of negotiations at an inter-governmental Diplomatic Conference scheduled for November. However, after three days of intense meetings, it's impossible to say with any certainty what a new version of the treaty would say.

The proposed Broadcasting Treaty could take one of two approaches (or perhaps fall somewhere unsatisfyingly in-between). At one end of the spectrum, there's the current draft's dangerous "rights-based" approach that would lock-down devices like TiVos and curtail consumers' rights to make use of recorded video and audio. At the other end of the spectrum is a signal theft approach that would provide for narrower, tailored remedies against intentional unauthorized interception and redistribution of a broadcast signal.

As we've previously reported, there is widespread support for moving towards a signal-based treaty that should differ considerably from the current draft. That, of course, requires agreement on a new treaty text. If WIPO Member States can't reach agreement, two things are possible. First, there might not be a Diplomatic Conference later this year. That was the understanding of WIPO Deputy Director General Michael Keplinger at the meeting, and would seem entirely appropriate if there is no agreement after nine years of negotiations. Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, there might still be a Diplomatic Conference to negotiate on the current anti-innovation, anti-consumer rights-based draft (WIPO document 15/2). That would be the worst possible outcome for the Internet community.

So where to from here? Read on after the jump.


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