Selected Quotes on Webcasting and the Proposed Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations


Civil Society Coalition Statement on Broadcaster/Webcaster Treaty

November 17, 2004

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The proposal to create new and never tested rights for webcasters are made by special interests who seek to claim ownership over works that are now freely available. If these are creative works, they are already protected under copyright. Copyright owners are free to license works to webcasters, or to release them to the public, for example under a creative commons license. The treaty would create a new layer of rights that webcasters could exercise even when the copyright owner did not want the distribution of the works restricted. It would allow webcasters to claim ownership of works that are in the public domain. It would change the Internet. It will restrict access to knowledge.

It is not necessary to create these new rights to create incentives to disseminate digital works. The market capitalization of Yahoo, Google and other Internet companies is staggering. Shortsighted firms like Yahoo that are seeking this new webcasting right are wrong about what is best for the Internet, and they have almost no support within the broader technology industry.

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IP Justice Statement on the Proposed WIPO Broadcasting Treaty at the 12th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights

17-19 November 2004

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Internet Transmissions Should be Excluded from Broadcasting Treaty Only a single state, the USA, proposed widening the scope of the treaty to regulate Internet webcasting. At the June 2004 Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCRR) meeting, numerous objections were raised to such an expansive broadening of the treaty's scope to treat the Internet transmission of programming with rules designed for traditional broadcasting. Regulating Internet transmissions of audio and/or visual content would subject potentially millions of people to broadcast rules. The Internet and traditional broadcasting are entirely different technologies and should not be lumped together for purposes of regulation. Including webcasting in this treaty will give traditional broadcasters an enormous advantage over new and innovative Internet companies.

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WIPO Steps Up Pressure on "Special Interest" Broadcast Treaty Ignores Concerns of Developing Countries and Artists

IP Justice Press release
November 18, 2004

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Although the treaty purports to merely "update" existing laws, in reality it would create a broad range of new rights for broadcasters that currently exist nowhere in any national law. For example, the United States proposed that the treaty's scope be broadened to also control webcasting. Over a dozen Member States and the European Community urged that webcasting be removed from the scope of the treaty's regulation at the last meeting, but that provision, supported only the US, also remains in the draft treaty. Including webcasting in the scope of this treaty would allow traditional broadcasting companies to squeeze out innovative Internet companies.

The proposed Broadcasting Treaty also severely undermines the goals of the "Development Agenda," which was adopted by the WIPO General Assembly in October to refocus WIPO's work away from continuously ratcheting up rightsholders' rights and toward incentivising access to knowledge. Unfortunately, WIPO's copyright committee has yet to heed the calls from developing countries and remains focused on "special interest" laws such as the proposed Broadcasting Treaty.

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Union for the Public Domain position on proposed WIPO "Treaty to Protect Broadcasters"

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... e) The definition of "webcasting" in Article 2(g), Alternative C, is so broadly drawn that it could be interpreted as granting control over nearly all transmissions of images and sounds over the internet and internet-like networks.

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Statement of Twenty Technology Companies on the Inclusion of Webcasting in the Proposed Broadcasting Treaty

November, 2004

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We, the undersigned representatives of technology businesses large and small, reject the idea that the Internet needs or will benefit from the extension of these pseudo-copyrights to so-called "Webcasters."

Briefly, we reject the Webcasting Provision for the following reasons:

1. The Internet depends on permission-free access. This is reflected in the exemptions in many countries' copyright laws for online and internet service providers. When authors or rights-holders' permission has been required for fixation, copying, retransmission or decoding in other situations, the negotiation of licenses from creators and copyright rights-holders have provided ample protection for all parties. Adding a new layer of intermediaries, over and above copyright holders, for the re-use of information on the Internet benefits no one -- save those intermediaries. If an Internet company has the rights to a work, or need not secure the rights to a work due to a limitation in copyright, or because the work is in the public domain, there is no rational reason to require that the company also seek the permission of a further i ntermediary whose sole creative contribution to the work is in making it available.

2. There is no demonstrable problem. Internet businesses are famously, legendarily well-capitalized from angels, venture capitalists, public markets, private investors, governments and every other source of capital imaginable. Proponents of webcasting rights have offered no credible evidence that the lack of legal protection for webcasting rights has precluded the establishment of any new Internet businesses. Indeed, the businesses most volubly calling for Webcasting protection are among the best-capitalized in the history of the world. There is no certainty of benefit here, but it *is* certain that the creation of a new psuedo-copyright will slow down adoption and innovation in Internet markets by requiring all content-related businesses to negotiate yet another layer of license agreements before they can offer new products or services to the public. The most likely result of introducing these new rights will be to skew the market; in practice it will provide financial assistance to incumbents who will be able to assure investors of their right to exclude their competitors and new entrants from the market. At the same time, it is likely to constrain, not increase, the creation of more information products for the public.

We do not desire the "protection" you offer us, nor do we believe it will benefit us.

Thank you,

Mark Cuban, HDNet, Dallas Mavericks NBA Team Owner
Elliot Noss, TuCows, Inc.
Tim O'Reilly: O'Reilly and Associates
Scott Rosenberg, Salon Media Group/Salon.com
Jeremy Hogan, Lulu, Inc
Austin Wallender, pictothink
Jonathan M. Hollin, Digital-World, Ltd (UK)
Adam Rifkin, KnowNow, Inc.
Rohit Khare, CommerceNet Coalition
Michael J. Masin, M2 Group Corp.
David Daniels, Starfish Internet Services
John Burden, FuturesGuide, Inc
Leisa Fearing, Elf Systems Corporation
Arthur van Dorp, Siteware Systems GmbH Switzerland
Matt Rudderham, DynamicHosting.Biz
Robert L Mathews, Tiger Technologies LLC
Anil Gupte, ke.e.n., Inc.
Kai Schaetzl, Conactive GmbH & Co KG
Marc Gadsdon, In-Tuition Networks Ltd
Joyce Thomas, Bizgrok, Inc.


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