Joint NGO Statement: Reject the WIPO Broadcast Treaty

We call upon WIPO delegates to reject the proposed WIPO Broadcast

After more than 9 years of discussions, efforts to find a treaty
formulation that deals with piracy of broadcast signals, but which
does not harm copyright owners and the legitimate users of broadcasts
have failed.

Piracy of broadcast signals is already adequately dealt under
existing laws and treaties. Broadcasters are asking for exclusive
rights that will change their bargaining positions in terms of the
right to exploit and commercialize works. The treaty will harm both
the creative communities, and the public, who will have to negotiate
the required permissions and pay for these new rights.

WIPO should not be creating new economic rights for broadcasters and
they should certainly not be creating such new economic rights for
cable companies or the companies that aggregate content on cable
channels, since the public already has to pay to receive such
information through subscription services. There is no shortage of
existing laws that make cable piracy illegal.

The demanders of the treaty – the broadcasting industry, have
repeatedly stated at WIPO that they will not accept any treaty that
does not grant them intellectual property rights in information they
did not create and do not otherwise own under copyright law. This is
inconsistent with the signal-based approach mandated by the WIPO
General Assembly.

It is also important to be aware of the special, but obviously
central issue of the impact of a treaty on the Internet.

The Internet has created immense opportunities for the increased flow
and dissemination of information and knowledge. It has also played a
crucial role in greatly reducing the disparity in access to knowledge
between developed and developing countries.

The relationship between the treaty and the Internet is highly
problematic. A treaty that establishes non-copyright controls over
reuses of information over the Internet will harm access to knowledge.
Signed July 20, 2007, Geneva

Civil Society Coalition
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Information for Libraries
European Digital Rights
International Federation of Library Associations
IP Justice
Knowledge Ecology International
Public Knowledge
Third World Network