A Handbook of Contemporary Research
Edited by Paul Torremans
Chapter 20: A broadcasters' treaty?
20 A broadcasters’ treaty?* Tom Rivers1 The primary purpose of this chapter is to describe the course of the negotiations which have taken place under the aegis of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on the subject of how best to protect broadcasters at an international level. This process, still unfinished, has taken a long time and has been at times contentious; lately, it has appeared that some governments and a number of ‘civil society’ non-governmental organisations (NGOs) doubt whether intellectual property protection is the right way to deal with the problems of broadcasters. Is this because protection for broadcasters is specially problematic or because the attitude to intellectual property more generally has shifted? Describing what has happened may provide answers to this kind of question and of necessity will highlight specific issues which have emerged: the beneficiaries of protection, the extent of the substantive rights, the use of technological protection measures. The Introduction is intended to give the reader some necessary background and a summary account of the process. There follows a more detailed account of how the work of the committee developed, the content of the governments’ proposals, and the debate between the different points of view. The Conclusion offers an assessment of the future prospects for work at WIPO on the broadcasters’ treaty and other issues. Introduction In March 1998 the General Assembly of WIPO agreed a recommendation in the budget for the coming biennium to set up a number of Standing Committees: these would replace the...
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