Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dipconf seems likely at this point -- now for the US it's the cablecasting treaty

by James Packard Love
The US and the EU are showing some flexibility. The Africa group has called for a diplomatic conference. Many delegates seem inclined to move ahead to get this issue behind them. Too early to tell what type of rights will be included. The TPM measures are likely to only be those relating to the protection of the signal, and not to the content. Webcasting, netcasting and simulcasting is supposed to be out, but that is not really certain, and no one really knows what Article 9 does.

For the US, Canada and many other countries -- the short term outcome will effectively be a new treaty for cablecasting -- something not covered by the Rome Convention. No one has really thought about what this will mean, because the cable companies have not been showing up, and everyone was focusing on broadcasting and webcasting. But most people in the US and many other countries get TV primarily through cable, rather than over-the-air broadcasting.

Who are the beneficiaries of a "cablecasting" right? According to many delegates here, it will be the cable "channels," not the local cable company. Thus, it turns out that News Corp and Time Warner -- two companies attending this meeting, will be defined as "cablecasters" for their various cable channel offerings. So too for many other big aggregators of content for cable platforms around the world.

How will this play out when the cable company provides Internet access? I think this is not well thought out either.


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