WIPO SCCR 43: Notes from Day 1

Member states delivered opening statements and deliberated on the progress, substantive provisions, and method of work on the draft broadcasting treaty text. This blog post summarises positions and contentions that supported: 1)The need for balance between rights of broadcasters and that of users and researchers 2) Questions around fixation and signal piracy 3) Need for consensus and towards a diplomatic conference

Opening Statements by Group Coordinators

Uruguay on behalf of the GRULAC spoke about the Marrakesh treaty and highlighted how this was the first treaty that looked at human rights and copyright. Uruguay also mentioned the need to look at exclusion and the need for dissemination of knowledge.

On behalf of the Baltic states, Poland expressed their interest in discussing the Limitations and Exceptions (L&E)  agenda, with focus on persons with other disabilities, as well as conveyed  their interest in examining the Toolkit on Preservation.

The African group coordinator Ghana, highlighted  the need to look at the contribution to Sustainable Development Goals, they also showed support for Senegal and Congo on their work on artist copyright and resale rights.

Singapore made the statements on behalf of the Asia and the Pacific Group (APG) group coordinator Indonesia, they commented on the need to work towards a fair and balanced broadcast treaty, and to narrow existing gaps which would require a delicate balance. They also stated that the treaty needs to be comprehensive and inclusive, with limitations and expectations for Libraries, Archives and Museums and areas of cultural importance, as well as access to broadcast content for education and research.

Agenda Item 5: Protection of Broadcasting Organisations

The need for Balance between rights of broadcasters and that of users and researchers

China, Ghana, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, in their statements highlighted the need for balance between the rights of the broadcasters with suitable limitations and exceptions. Iran in their statements also highlighted the work of libraries, archives and museums in education. Iran also highlighted that different parameters for Limitations and Exceptions in member states' national legislations has the potential to cause barriers in the free flow of data for researchers and educators.

Colombia spoke about their concerns regarding the fixation rights laid out in the treaty and the working of limitations and exceptions under Article 11. Colombia stated that the use of the term “may” in Article 11 could result in countries ignoring the limitations and exceptions provisions when they adopt this treaty into their national legislations. They suggested the changing of the wording in Article 11 from “may” to “shall” to reflect a balanced and progressive treaty.

Nigeria in their statement highlighted the difficulties that were faced by students and educators during Covid 19, when schools and libraries were closed. They also shed light on how limitations and exceptions were not granted uniformly.

Pakistan also emphasised on the need to look at the interests of educators, and supported the inclusion of mandatory limitations and exceptions while protecting the rights of the creators.

Questions around fixation and signal piracy

The Central European and Baltic States Group (CEBS) group, The  United Kingdom (UK) , Canada, Tajikistan and The United States of America and Japan in their statements mentioned the need to protect broadcasters especially with respect to stopping piracy. The CEBS group stated that in the era of rapidly evolving technologies and changing digital environments there was a need to extend international protection against piracy to different types of transmissions of broadcasting organizations, including those over computer networks. Similarly, the United Kingdom also highlighted the rapid advancements in technology, which enables signal piracy through redirecting. The UK stated that Article 7 of the draft treaty did not provide sufficient protection, an issue that needed more deliberations.

Need for consensus and progress towards a diplomatic conference

Pakistan, China, Kingdom of Eswatini, The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in their statements mentioned that they were looking forward to a diplomatic conference. Pakistan  highlighted the need for open and inclusive negotiation in the diplomatic conference.

India expressed that  the scope of protection in the revised draft is more comprehensive and in line with technological developments. The definition of the term broadcasting has also been made more comprehensive with the inclusion of the word “any means”. The definition provided for fixation has been provided along with the rights of fixation under Article 7, which may be the most relevant steps to prevent unauthorised exploitation by a third party to the values represented by the signal. India also stated that the treaty is capable of covering piracy in the digital environment and includes broadcasting of all types of broadcast. India also stated that they support the finalisation of the treaty, maintaining the interest of all member states on fundamental issues.

Presentation by the  Chair and Vice Chair

  1. On Article 11 the Chair stated that the list could be made clearer, and also clarified that the list is not a closed list. With respect to the works in the public domain the Chair clarified that the broadcasting and distributing of works in public domain, only the work carrying the signal will be under the treaty.
  2. With regard to the scope of fixation the Chair clarified that the scope of fixation is only for the entity emitting the signal. The focus of the treaty is to limit the rights to signal based rights.