WIPO SCCR14- IFJ statement on the future WIPO broadcasting Treaty, May 2006

The International Federation of Journalists represents 450 000 journalists in the world. It promotes strong authors’ rights protection for journalists and their need to be recognised as authors of the work they create irrespective of the media they work for.

We believe that the scope of the future broadcasting treaty should only extend to the protection of the broadcasting signal (article 3 of the Draft Basic Proposal). We have serious doubts as to the opportunity to grant broadcasters rights over fixation of the broadcast while the aim of the treaty is to protect the signal.

We are indeed concerned that some of the rights conferred in the draft basic proposal go beyond the protection of the broadcasting signal. We do welcome the exclusion of the distribution right from the draft, as this right would clearly cover the content of the broadcast and not the signal itself. We note, however, that the right of retransmission following fixation (article 9) remains. This right is not granted to any other rightholders under any WIPO treaties and would challenge the rights of journalists over the broadcasted content. The Preamble of the draft proposal clearly stresses the need not to compromise the rights of other rightholders. Article 1 clarifies relations with other treaties and the importance to leave intact the protection of copyright over the broadcasted content. Article 3 stresses again that protection extends only to the signal and not to works carried by such signal. If article 9 remains in the draft it would be in complete contradiction with the aims of the treaty.

Moreover, granting broadcasters exclusive rights would conflict with journalists’ exclusive rights over the broadcasted content. We believe that a right to prohibit would be sufficient to fight against piracy of the signal and maintain the balance right.

Regarding the beneficiaries of the treaty, we would like to stress again that protection should be confined to traditional broadcasters and cablecasters only and not include webcasters. We therefore welcome the general support of WIPO delegations on this issue and question the need to include webcasters in an appendix, where no general consensus exists amongst delegations.

As for the eligibility for becoming party to the Treaty, the IFJ believes that membership to the broadcasting treaty should be subject to the WCT and WPPT treaties. This is of utmost importance if the future treaty aims at getting the balance right between all right holders. We would therefore call on WIPO delegations to include a specific reference to this sine qua non condition in article 22 (eligibility for becoming party)

We have some reservations regarding TPM. TPM can help fighting against piracy of the broadcasting signal but can also conflict with exceptions for quotations and reporting on current events. Moreover, their use is to be decided by all rightholders and not be subject to the sole authorization of broadcasters. If this article is to remain, it should clearly introduce a provision calling on all rightholders to authorize the use of TPM.

Lastly, we would like to stress again the urgent need to grant audiovisual performers the protection that they have been asking for years. This, in our view, should be treated as a priority to a new treaty on broadcasters.