Battle Lines Drawn Over Broadcast Treaty

As reported earlier, WIPO is currently considering a broadcasting and webcasting treaty that would give rights to those disseminating intellectual property for 50 years.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The treaty has caused a lot of discontent and a number of US based companies and organizations are stepping forward to express their opposition.

The EFF posted an unofficial transcript of a couple of meetings that discussed, among other things, the webcasting treaty.

When the webcasting treaty was first proposed, it was almost unanimously rejected and was effectively tossed out. This didn’t kill the webcasting treaty as it came back in to other provisions set forth by WIPO. This caused a stir and discontent as one can see in the meeting’s unofficial transcript. The unofficial transcript eventually shows that the matter of webcasting was seemingly deferred to a later time.

Now that news travelled around on what WIPO was up to, a number of US based companies have passed along a letter opposing the broadcasting treaty: “If the treaty moves forward in any form, we believe that the current rights-based approach of the treaty must be abandoned. Creating broad new intellectual property rights in order to protect broadcast signals is misguided and unnecessary, and risks serious unintended negative consequences.”

What may be of interest to many is the complete list of those signing this letter. The list of companies and organizations signing this letter are the following:

American Association of Law Libraries

American Library Association

Association of Research Libraries


Broadband Service Providers Association

Center for Democracy & Technology

Cingular Wireless

Computer and Communications Industry Association

Consumer Electronics Association

Consumer Project on Technology

CTIA – The Wireless Association

Dell Inc.

Electronic Frontier Foundation


Hewlett Packard Company

Home Recording Rights Coalition

Intel Corporation

International Music Managers Forum

Internet Society

IP Justice

Media Access Project

Medical Library Association

National Association of State PIRGs

Panasonic Corporation of North America

Public Knowledge

RadioShack Corporation

Special Libraries Association

Sony Electronics Incorporated

TiVo Inc.

Union for the Public Domain

U.S. Internet Industry Association

U.S. Music Managers Forum

U.S. Public Interest Research Group


Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon Wireless

Yale Information Society Project

Considering the broadcast treaty was even rejected by the US representative, the issues surrounding this treaty seem to go deeper than a judicial showdown.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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