SCCR/41: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 41st session of the Committee, which is taking place in a hybrid format of in-person and online participation from 28 June and 1 July 2021.

The first day of the event was dedicated to discuss the protection of broadcasting organizations, and several delegations shared their dissatisfaction with the fact that informal discussions on the text of the draft broadcast treaty had taken place without ensuring the participation of a diversity of delegations. The SCCR Chair invited to these meetings only to the so-called “Friends of the Chair”, which include Argentina, Colombia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States of America. Civil society observers joined Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, South Africa and Chile in their ask for greater transparency and inclusivity.

The following is the statement made on behalf of COMMUNIA on this agenda item (Agenda Item 5):

I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA, an international association that works to protect and defend the public domain. Communia includes among its members Creative Commons, Wikimedia and the Internet Archive.

First of all, we would like to support PIJIP’s call for greater transparency.

We understand that illegal streaming of broadcast signals is a serious issue, but the type of protection that is being discussed by this Committee poses serious obstacles to access to culture, knowledge and information.

We recall that broadcasters in most countries already enjoy solid legal protection against signal piracy and other unauthorized uses. Broadcasters may invoke protection under copyright laws, unfair competition laws and criminal laws.

We also recall that much of the content that broadcasters transmit is of cultural importance. In addition, radio and TV-based remote learning have re-emerged in the past year, in response to the pandemic.

A treaty that creates an additional layer of rights and ignores the societal and cultural needs related with access and reuse of broadcasts fails the society as whole.

No new rights should be mandated without the corresponding exceptions, and no perpetual rights should be given over public domain and freely licensed content.

Opened Book - Joannes Bemme, 1785 - 1818
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