Broadcasters seek regional support for new international treaty

Jul 1, 2014 | News

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) is seeking support from regional governments at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for a Broadcasters Treaty that will update the international regime for protection of broadcasting organisations.

The CBU said the next meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) takes place in Geneva, April 29-May 2, where it will continue text-based work with a view to finalising a draft treaty proposal that would be the basis for final negotiations at a diplomatic conference, likely to place next year.

“Over the years, governments of the Caribbean have recognised the vital importance of communication and information, and especially broadcasting to the social and economic development of the region.

“As a result they have made significant investments in broadcasting, which have been rewarded with a vibrant sector involving both state and private interests, which makes critical contributions nationally, regionally and globally,” the CBU said yesterday.

But the CBU said that while this “very dynamic sector enjoys wide opportunity, in large part driven by technological development …these technological advances have also given rise to significant threats to the continued survival of

the sector.

“Broadcasters in the Caribbean, like their colleagues globally, are suffering many kinds of predatory practices including piracy of their intellectual property,” the CBU said, adding that “this particular challenge has been recognised by WIPO which is working on a new treaty to update legal protection of broadcast signals at the international level”.

The Barbados-based CBU said that its members are keen to be proactively involved in this process so as to ensure that it will provide new tools for Caribbean broadcasters to remedy the serious problem of signal piracy that harms their ability to provide top-quality services to their audiences in the region.

“Piracy of broadcast signals harms not only the broadcasting organisations but also the owners of content in the broadcast, including authors, producers, performers and other contributors to the broadcasters’ output. Protecting the broadcast signal also protects the interests of their audiences in receiving quality broadcast programming in the most convenient ways.”

It said the objective of the proposed treaty is to update the international regime for protection of broadcasting organisations which is wholly outdated having been established in 1961 as it does not address cable, satellite or Internet technologies.

“The rights of other stakeholders have been updated to this end in 1996 by the WCT and WPPT, and in 2012 for performers of audio-visual works. It is not only broadcasters whose rights have not been updated, and hence this is a priority matter at the SCCR.

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