Statement of Dr. Manon A. Ress from the Civil Society Coalition.

My name is Dr. Manon A. Ress, and I am here on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition. I would like to thank the Standing Committee for accepting the CSC as an observer. The CSC is a coalition of a number of different NGOs that are interested in intellectual property policy. Our mission is to enhance the transparency of policy making on IP issues, and to represent the views of consumers in particular and more generally the public. Today I provide the views of the Consumer Project on Technology, which is one of the members of the CSC. CPTech will address the proposed Broadcast Treaty.

  1. CPTech's first concern is that the proposed treaty would extend broadcast rights from the 20 years in the TRIPS and the Rome Convention to 50 years. We oppose this extension of the term. We note that the broadcaster right is an additional layer over that enjoyed by creators, and we see no public interest that would be advanced by extending this layer of protection for an addition 30 years. Indeed, this will shrink the public domain, and harm the public.

  2. CPTech is also concerned that the proposals to extend broadcasters rights to "webcasters" has the potential to vastly expand the ability of persons to assert rights over material that should be in the public domain. One key issue concerns the definition of webcasting. We note that the definition is different in important respects from the definition for cable or broadcasting. The technology of the Internet is complex, and we are concerned that this new instrument would be used to exercise rights in areas that currently not considered protectable.

    We would like to know if such Internet activities such as

    would be covered by the treaty, for example.

  3. We are also concerned about the proliferation of new digital rights management obligations, and believe that before WIPO creates yet another treaty obligation in this areas, it would be appropriate to evaluate the impact of the existing obligations, and to take an inventory of issues that concern the public. In particular, we are concerned about the impact of such measures on:
    1. privacy
    2. innovation,
    3. consumer convenience and perceived value,
    4. the ability to archive materials, and
    5. the public rights under the various exceptions to rights such as the rights of the blind or both non- commercial and commercial fair use rights.

    To this end, we propose that WIPO Schedule a meeting in 2004 to discuss consumer and other public perspectives on digital rights management schemes. Here we also suggest that there be an effort to examine the thorny but very important problem of exports when rights are exercised under varioius copyright or DRM exceptions provisions, a problem already indentified by the blind, and which is a major issue accross the Internet.

Thank You.