Friday, May 05, 2006

Alert! WIPO Treaty Proposal to give broadcasters IP rights over content!

WOW! The broadcasters are on the verge of getting 50 years of copyright-like IP rights in the material they broadcast. NOT material they CREATE, but merely material that they broadcast, pass through. Link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation link above to see their notice about this proposal in the U.N. The EFF says:

If that wasn't bad enough, the US contingent at WIPO is pushing to have the treaty expanded to cover the Net. That means that anyone who feeds any combination of "sound and images" through a web server would have a right to meddle with what you do with the webcast simply because they serve as the middleman between you and the creator. If the material is already under copyright, you would be forced to clear rights with multiple sets of rightsholders. Not only would this hurt innovation and threaten citizens' access to information, it would change the nature of the Internet as a communication medium.

Proponents say they need this treaty to prevent "signal piracy." But the treaty goes well beyond that by creating rights to control "fixations" of broadcasts that only apply after you've received and recorded a signal. EFF and an international coalition of NGOs support a real treaty against signal piracy. We've drafted a treaty that does just that, but treaty proponents have refused to adopt it.

The EFF site has a lot of links to original documents, so go there and use their materials to look at the issues. I have not yet located anything on the WIPO website that I am sure is about this proposed treaty. WIPO is at link, and has a searchable site listing treaties. But they may not list treaties that are under negotiation.

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