The image depicts the press room of a daily newspaper in the late 19th century.

SCCR/43: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations

In our capacity as accredited observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 43th session of the Committee, which is currently taking place in Geneva (March 13-17, 2023).

We made the following statement regarding the protection of broadcasting organisations (Agenda Item 5):

COMMUNIA works to defend the public domain and in our opinion the proposed broadcast treaty is a threat to the public domain and usage rights.

The current version of the draft treaty allows countries to protect broadcasters with exclusive rights without sufficient balance or consideration for the societal needs related with access to knowledge and information.

Broadcast signals carry content that plays an essential informational, cultural and educational role in our society. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the rights-based model currently under discussion does not create an additional obstacle to education, research and the activities of cultural heritage institutions.

Let us give you an example. We recently interviewed EU researchers to better understand the needs and challenges faced by them. A Swedish researcher told us that they use broadcasts as sources of scientific research. They research public discourse and they analyse mainly radio broadcasts and daily newspapers. With the current legal framework they already face considerable copyright-related obstacles. In their words “We really get into copyright issues and there it has been very messy.”

So why make things harder for them? This treaty needs to get rid of fixation rights. It needs to mandate that the parties achieve a fair balance by means of exceptions, and it needs to have the same mandatory exceptions that we have in Berne and in the Marrakesh Treaty. And this is just a start. We count on you to make it right.

King Charles II of England addresses members of the Estates General, 1660, Theodor Matham, after Jacob Toorenvliet, 1660
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