Ireland and the WIPO Broadcast Treaty

My alter ego at the McGarr Solicitors website has posted up an exchange relating to the Irish Government’s relationship to the negotiations currently occuring in Geneva at the WIPO. These are aimed at to bringing about “A Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations”.

Here’s a brief extract from the EFF describing some of the proposed elements of this treaty:

If adopted, the WIPO treaty will give broadcasters 50 years of copyright-like control over the content of their broadcasts, even when they have no copyright in what they show. A TV channel broadcasting your Creative Commons-licensed movie could legally demand that no one record or redistribute it—and sue anyone who does. And TV companies could use their new rights to go after TiVo or MythTV for daring to let you skip advertisements or record programs in DRM-free formats.

If that wasn’t bad enough, some countries at WIPO have supported expanding the treaty to cover the Net. That means that anyone who feeds any combination of “sound and images” through a web server would have a right to meddle with what you do with the webcast simply because they serve as the middleman between you and the creator. If the material is already under copyright, you would be forced to clear rights with multiple sets of rightsholders. Not only would this hurt innovation and threaten citizens’ access to information, it would change the nature of the Internet as a communication medium.


The current draft of the Treaty.

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