SCCR Accelerates Work on IP Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

November 25, 2004
SCCR Accelerates Work on IP Protection of Broadcasting Organizations
Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have advanced towards development of a treaty to update intellectual property standards for broadcasters in the digital age, at a meeting of the twelfth session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva from November 17-19, 2004.

According to a press release on Monday, delegates made substantial progress in narrowing differences on key issues contained in a Revised Consolidated Text of treaty proposals and member states called for accelerated progress towards conclusion of the Treaty.

Noting the central role of broadcasting in developing countries, SCCR Chairman Jukka Liedes of Finland, said that "Broadcasters are motors of social, economic and cultural development. Last week’s progress in the SCCR session is quite promising, as member states’ positions showed increased flexibility and a will to move forward towards the formal treaty negotiation process."

Under the Chair’s Conclusions, consultation meetings will be organized by the secretariat over the next few months in Geneva and in regions where requested by member states.

The Chair will prepare a second Revised Version of the Consolidated Text 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.

Consensus is also sought on the scope and duration of rights under the Treaty. Some delegations seek to limit protection to the rights needed to fight signal piracy.

On duration of rights, support was shown for a term of protection of 20 years. Proposals of most member states call for a 50-year term of protection.

"Most member states are confident that differences on these key issues can be narrowed in the final negotiating process. The next session of the Standing Committee will take into account the progress made in regional consultations, paving the way for the adoption of a new treaty," said Rita Hayes, deputy director general who oversees WIPO’s work in the copyright field.

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 a move applauded by consumer and user groups, the SCCR agreed to place on the agenda of the next session of the SCCR an item proposed by Chile concerning exceptions and limitations to rights for the purposes of education, libraries and disabled persons.

Before the SCCR, an information session on the protection of audiovisual performances took place, featuring a presentation by Professor André Lucas from Nantes University, France, on the transfer of rights of audiovisual performers to producers.

Numerous delegations and representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations expressed interest in making headway on outstanding issues left over from the Diplomatic Conference on the protection of audiovisual performances in December 2000.