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SCCR 29: Public Interest Organizations Statements regarding the Broadcasting Treaty

by Prasad Krishna last modified Dec 27, 2014 04:44 PM
Also presented during the afternoon plenary, here are 3 statements by public interest organizations, the TACD, EFF and CIS:

The article was published in Knowledge Ecology International on December 9, 2014.

TACD: Thank you very much the transAtlantic consumer dialogue is concerned that the discussion on this treaty whereas in the past due to the lack of definitions we called it an unidentified flying object, now, as the definitions get a bit clearer, we feel it's becoming a more identified flying object in the air as a transmission and precisely because it's becoming identified some of these definitions we consider are concerning us and we are worried about these definitions because we think these definitions and these protections of rights could mean a threat to access to culture, a threat even to freedom of speech, and a threat to the public domain. And we are talking about a public domain, about public broadcasting signals.

And we think these threats are coming from a scope that is much broader than is recommendable. It is a scope that could take into account a lot of the digital rights that millions of young people around the world are fighting for and defending. And I think this sensitivity of digital rights of mixing, of the type of things that go on every day millions of times on the Internet should not be threatened by this treaty. So how can we avoid that? We could avoid that by avoiding any post fixation rights.

We could avoid it by a very narrow definition of simultaneous or near simultaneous traditional broadcasting signals to the public in the air. We could -- broadcasting should mean, similar to the Rome Convention, the transmission by wireless over the air means for public reception of sounds, of images and of words.
As well, what is a signal? What is a signal? A signal obviously could not just mean everything. A signal means an electronically generated carrier over the air with sounds and images, and what we really need, what we really need is to narrow down the scope to a point where we don't see this as something that can be a threat to the creativity, innovation, new business models at a time when we know that the new business models need that flexibility, what we don't need is yet another layer of bureaucratic costly rights that will be burdensome for the future of the Internet.

So for that reason, for consumers, for Internet users, for culture, for new innovation, we would like really to call for this very narrow definition of the scope. Thank you very much.

The call for a narrow based possible treaty was echoed by EFF

>> Electronic frontier foundation: This year marks the tenth anniversary of EFF discussions over the WIPO treaty for broadcasting organisations. And during that time our position has been constant that any such treating should be limited to addressing the unauthorized simultaneous and near simultaneous retransmission of traditional broadcast untiles to the public without assigning new exclusive rights in the content of those signals. We also note it would be possible to include a right to prohibit the transmission of prebroadcast signals within a snail based approach and without assigning any new exclusive rights. Although this has been [decided?] in the past when WIPO dwed at the 2007 assembly to follow a signal based approach. Current discussions on post fixation rights have backtracked from this commitment and it's that more than anything else that has led these negotiations to become more protracted.

Creating new exclusive rights in post broadcast fixations would impede access to public domain material and material over which copyright limitations and exceptions may apply. This is because some material may not be readily available other than from broadcasts such as in the case of broadcast of sport or use events. It would impede the use of technological innovations that add val you to broadcast. Especially if it curtailed the use of circumvention devices this could affects digital media players and new innovations we can't even envision yet especially those running on free and open source marredware and software. So EFF urges WIPO members to be disciplined in their add harns to a narrow signal based approach as we see this as the only way that a treaty for broadcasting ors organisations can be conclude in 2015 or at all. Thank you.

The CIS made a technical analysis of the "charts" that cannot (yet) be provided to the public also here:

> CIS: Thank you, Mr. Chair. This intervention will be based on your chart detailing the concepts corresponding to the various definitions we are discussing here today. We believe that there are certain elements to these concepts that are inconsistent with the broadcast treaty based on a signals based approach and over the course of the next few minutes, I would like to briefly discuss these.

First, Mr. Chair, in the first column, and broadcasting or cable casting organisation in the traditional sense where communication of the signal has been listed under the scope of responsibility. Mr. Chair, as we have submitted in other statements before this community, before this committee, communication itself we believe is a concept that is an element of copyright, and it's distinction broadcast rights char related rights. A signal, Mr. Chair, we, therefore, believe could be broadcast or transmitted and accordingly under the element that deals with the scope of responsibility, we are of the money opinion that it should read broadcast or transmission of the signal and not communication of the signal, and the focus should not be communication to the public.

A concept that's also been discussed in certain alternatives to the definitions under Article 5 which accordingly we would loss not favor. Second, Mr. Chair, in the second column in broadcasting and cable casting transmission, we have three observations. Fist, under the means of transmission, we believe the transmission over computer networks is wide enough to encompass IP based tran missions and, therefore, should be excluded in order for the treaty to be consistent with the signals based approach.

Second, on the reception of the broadcast or cable cast prance mission, we believe that it should be qualified using the phrase general public. We are of the opinion that there is a danger that a limited public, say, family members, could be covered under the term public but would be excluded from the term general puck public which in any case is the targeted audience of a broadcast. Third, Mr. Chair, on whether the transmission would be encrypted or not, which also flows into the thought column on the signal, and whether the signal itself is encrypted or not, encrypted or not.

And which would also then relate to whether broadcasting organisations will have the right to prevent unauthorized decription. Mr. Chair, we don't think there should be a separate right to prevent unauthorized decription. Given that signal theft is a crime, having a spect decription might result in an absurdity where it would cover decrypting and unauthorized retransmission without authorization from the retransmitter where the transmission by the retransmitter was illegal to begin with.

Finally, Mr. Chair, in the third column and on the meaning of the signal, we submit that our preferred definition would be one where the definition of a signal is confined, and is understood as an electronically generated carrier transmitting a broadcast or a cable cast and not one which has the capability of such transmission as has been stated in your third chart.