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November 11, 2008

The Broadcasting Treaty that won’t stay dead

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (did you remember to join?) has blogged about the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty that won’t seem to stay dead. (Great backgrounder and eval by Nate Anderson at Ars Technica.)

The new treaty would mean that to record or reuse a broadcast of a TV show, you would have to get rights not only from the company that created the show, but also from the broadcaster whose signal you recorded. The Europeans have supported this since they backed the Rome Convention in 1961; the proposed treaty would globally standardize this new layer of rights/restrictions.

The EFF has argued that if passed, it would mean that it would be illegal to record even a Creative Commons licensed broadcast; the creator of the work may be fine with it, but the broadcaster might not be. There are no “fair use” exceptions in the proposed Treaty, although it allows signatories to carve out exceptions based on their own copyright laws; the EFF claims that this would create confusion that would chill innovation and speech, as different countries implement different exceptions.

The US delegation has taken up again its call for “broadcast” to include transmissions over the Net.

The new push for the treaty, according to an update by Nate at Ars Technica, is likely to fail because there seems to be an irreconcilable split among countries that want to add this new layer of rights and those that would solve the problem of people stealing and reselling broadcasts simply by using existing laws to prosecute the people who do it.

Yay.

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