Momentum Grows to Update Broadcaster's Rights

Geneva, November 24, 2005
Press Releases PR/2005/431

Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) advanced its work towards development of a treaty to update intellectual property (IP) standards for broadcasters in the digital age, at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva from November 21 to 23, 2005. Mr. Jukka Liedes of Finland, Chairman of the SCCR highlighted the "high quality debates…now higher than ever" and said that "there is today a much greater understanding of the concepts and issues contained in a second Revised Consolidated Text of treaty proposals."

This was the first meeting of the SCCR since a decision by the WIPO General Assembly in October 2005 to accelerate work relating to the protection of broadcasting organizations to update international IP standards for broadcasting in the information age with a view to adopting an international treaty by 2007. At the General Assembly, member states agreed to hold two further meetings of the SCCR, 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 in early 2007.

"This meeting of the SCCR showed a genuine willingness by all member states to finalize these talks in a balanced way. The discussions were constructive and reflected the seriousness of all member states to arrive at solutions that take into account the various interests," said Mrs. Rita Hayes, WIPO Deputy Director General who oversees WIPO's work relating to copyright. "There are several issues that require further negotiation, but I am confident that the current atmosphere is conducive to a successful outcome," she added. Mrs. Hayes also welcomed the positive contribution of non-governmental groups – both civil society and industry representatives – to the talks. "This inclusive approach guarantees that all interests are taken on board," Mrs. Hayes said.

Discussions at the SCCR meeting were based on the second Revised Version of the Consolidated Text ((Document SCCR/12/2 Rev.2) and a working paper to address whether and how protection should extend to webcasters, entities that transmit over the Internet either directly or as an adjunct to traditional broadcasting activities (Working Paper on Alternative and Non-Mandatory Solutions on the Protection in Relation to Webcasting Document SCCR/12/5 Prov.). Brazil and Chile also presented two working papers to the meeting (SCCR/13/3 CORR. and SCCR 13/4).

Discussions fostered an exchange of views on the scope of the new treaty and rights to be granted. Some delegations seek to limit protection on the rights needed to prevent the theft of signals. On duration of rights, some delegations expressed support for a term of protection of 20 years, though proposals of most member states call for a 50-year term of protection.

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.

In addition to the question of the protection of broadcasting organizations, the SCCR agenda included a discussion on exceptions and limitations to rights for the purposes of education, libraries and disabled persons, a study on voluntary copyright registration systems, and the protection of non-original databases.

At the beginning of the meeting, member states examined the impact of the copyright system on the use of protected works for educational purposes in both the analog and digital environments, particularly in developing countries. For further information on those discussions, please see

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