[NetBehaviour] WIPO carves up the Internet (and the broadcast spectrum).

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue May 9 14:01:31 CEST 2006

WIPO carves up the Internet (and the broadcast spectrum)

By James Love.

This article discusses a new law or 'right' regarding intellectual 
property proposed by' a tiny handful of big corporate players'. The new 
right seeks to push beyond copyright law and copyright holders 'rights' 
to further the existing concentration of publishing and broadcast media 
in the hands of a few large companies and corporate networks. As is 
traditional in this field the measures proposed appear to be grossly 
unfair and hopefully unworkable. Re-posted from [Commons-Law] mailing list.

Don't bother reading this unless the words "new intellectual
property right" and "the Internet" seem important when put
together, because it is a twisted and complicated story. Even the
key players are struggling to figure out what is going on. But
like a lot of twisted and complicated things, it is important.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a
specialized UN agency, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. This
week it is holding a contentious five-day negotiation on a new
Treaty, the purpose of which is to provide a new "protection" for
"broadcasting and webcasting organizations."

What does this mean? WIPO is debating whether or not to create a
new intellectual property right in information that is
distributed over television, radio, cable television, or through
any wired or wireless computer network, including the Internet.
This is something different from copyright. Indeed, it is
designed to benefit people who cannot get a copyright, because a
work belongs to someone else (the person or group that created
it), or because the information is in the public domain. The new
right is not a "copyright," but a "broadcaster" or "webcaster"
right. It is a bad idea when applied to television or radio, but
a disaster if applied to the Internet.


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