Statement to WIPO SCCR 28 on Broadcasting Treaty by TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue
Broadcasting Treaty: Collateral damage to public access
Consumers and users around the world do not want new layers of complications, barriers and costs added to their access to information, news and knowledge. The strong push towards a binding Broadcasting Treaty with a wide scope is in stark contrast with the rigid opposition on the part of a number of member states to even discussing new global norms to facilitate the essential cultural and scientific role played by libraries and archives. This contradiction is not understood by millions of consumers and citizens around the world.
Do we want to follow the greatest success stories with regards to public broadcasting that are based on flexible, fair copyright frameworks or do would we like to create new complicated and expensive legal barriers that inhibit innovative and plural public broadcasting?
If we consider public broadcasting a public good, is it acceptable to move toward creating a new global binding legal standard of copyright protection for broadcasting signals without first making clear exceptions and limitations to this new norm that are essential to the flow of information and culture?
We would like to know if the Broadcasting Treaty will threaten the right to freely quote broadcasts or circulate snippets of news. Consumers and users must know if the concrete scope of this legal norm will mean new obstacles to what we often access and share daily. We are afraid we might be opening up an endless, incomprehensible pandora box of overlapping rights on content between non-creators (broadcasters) and creators. We are also concerned that the protection of post-fixation rights can have a very negative impact in the online use of culture, news and information by consumers and users.
In the consideration of a new international legal norm for broadcasters we must not forget the common good of the free flow of information for citizens. The focus of our work should not be limited to satisfying the wish-list of one special interest group while ignoring the possible unintentional negative consequences on normal users.
Very clear public interest red-lines need to be drawn up, the scope of rights must be narrowly, clearly defined and the social impact of these new rights must previously be evaluated by independent experts.
David Hammerstein, TACD