Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) have decided that further discussions were required on various aspects of a treaty on the protection of broadcasting organizations before moving to a diplomatic conference. The decision came at the conclusion of the second special session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) from June 18 to 22, 2007 which had been mandated by the WIPO General Assembly in October 2006.
In October 2006, the WIPO General Assembly called for two special sessions of the SCCR to be held in 2007 "to clarify the outstanding issues." The General Assembly decision said that "the sessions of the SCCR should aim to agree and finalize, on a signal-based approach, the objectives, specific scope and object of protection with a view to submitting to the diplomatic conference a revised basic proposal, which will amend the agreed relevant parts of the Revised Draft Basic Proposal (document SCCR 15/2)."
In that decision the General Assembly also decided that a diplomatic conference would be held from November 19 to December 7, 2007 to conclude a treaty on the protection of traditional broadcasting organizations, including cablecasting organizations, if agreement on new text was achieved during the special sessions. The first of these sessions was held in January 2007. The discussions undertaken in the two special sessions were confined to the protection of traditional broadcasting organizations and cablecasting organizations. This followed a decision by the 14th session of the SCCR from 1 to 5 May, 2006, to examine questions of webcasting and simulcasting, on a separate track, at a later date.
At the close of the June meeting, the Committee said that the work of the past years served as a firm foundation on which to develop balanced solutions that effectively address the growing problems of broadcast signal piracy at the international level. The Committee recommended that the WIPO General Assembly take note of the current status of the work; and acknowledged that progress was made towards better understanding of the positions of the various stakeholders. It was proposed that the subject of the broadcasters treaty remain on the agenda of the SCCR, and that a diplomatic conference be convened only after agreement on objectives, specific scope and object of protection has been achieved. Delegates also applauded the commitment and guidance of the Chair of the SCCR, Mr. Jukka Liedes.
Mr. Liedes acknowledged progress made in moving the process forward and said that more time was needed to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. He thanked all delegations for their flexibility and constructive engagement in the discussions which, he said, were key to a successful outcome.
Mr. Michael Keplinger, WIPO Deputy Director General who oversees copyright issues said "member states expressed their strong interest in continuing to strive towards achieving the objectives of protection on a signal based approach as mandated by the WIPO General Assembly in 2006. The process to date has gone a long way in building understanding on these very technical and complex issues." He further noted, "member states are now actively engaged in these discussions and a great deal of work has been done on these questions but a number of key issues still need to be ironed out."
Efforts to update the intellectual property rights of broadcasters, which are currently dealt with by the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, have grown in momentum over the past years in light of the advent of radically new types of communications and of content distribution over the Internet and growing signal piracy problems around the world. These triggered international discussions to review and upgrade existing international standards to ensure an appropriate balance between the different interests of all stakeholders and those of the general public.