General Assembly Decides to Accelerate Work on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

Geneva, October 3, 2005
Press Releases PR/2005/424

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization, meeting in Geneva from September 26 to October 5, 2005, agreed on Monday to accelerate its work relating to the protection of broadcasting organizations to update international intellectual property (IP) standards for broadcasting in the information age with a view to adopting an international treaty by 2007. Member states agreed to hold two further meetings of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, which is overseeing the negotiations. This would pave the way for the General Assembly in autumn 2006 to recommend the convening of a diplomatic conference to conclude a treaty.

"This is a very positive development as member states have established a clear process to address this issue in readiness for a Diplomatic Conference," said Mrs. Rita Hayes, WIPO Deputy Director General who oversees WIPO's work in the copyright field. "Two additional meetings of the SCCR, in addition to consultations among member states, will be very useful in helping to advance the work on a treaty." She added "while there was some discussion on the best way forward, there was widespread agreement on the need to update the IP rights of broadcasters, currently provided for by the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations." Mrs. Hayes recognized the active participation of member states and their guidance in moving the process forward.

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly said that two additional meetings of the SCCR "will be scheduled to accelerate discussions on the second revised consolidated text (SSCR/12/2Rev.2) and the Working Paper (SCCR/12/5 Prov)." It continued "These meetings shall aim to agree and finalize a Basic Proposal for a treaty on the protection of the rights of broadcasting organizations in order to enable the 2006 WIPO General Assembly to recommend the convening of a Diplomatic Conference in December 2006 or at an appropriate date in 2007". A diplomatic conference is convened when negotiators feel that the time is ripe for the adoption of a treaty.

Updating the IP rights of broadcasters, currently provided by the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, began at WIPO in 1997. A growing signal piracy problem in many parts of the world, including piracy of digitized pre-broadcast signals, has made this need more acute.

Earlier in the General Assembly, member states reviewed the status of consultations on outstanding issues relating to the protection of audiovisual performances and agreed to keep the subject under review at their annual meetings in 2006. International discussions on the protection of audiovisual performers rights date from the early 1990s. In 2000 a diplomatic conference on the protection of audiovisual performances made significant progress in shoring up the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances, but did not reach agreement on the fundamental questions of whether and how a treaty on performers' rights should deal with the transfer of rights from the performer to the producer. The adoption of a new instrument would strengthen the position of performers in the audiovisual industry by providing a clearer legal basis for the international use of audiovisual works, both in traditional media and in digital networks. Moreover an international instrument would contribute to safeguarding the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in audiovisual media, such as television, film and video.

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