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September 27, 2005
More on "Middleman" Rights for Webcasters
On the heels of James Boyle's brilliant Financial Times column on the WIPO broadcasting/webcasting treaty comes a blessedly clear statement in Geneva by the Civil Society Coalition (CSC), which represents 28 non-government organizations that oppose the treaty.
We are deeply troubled in the nature of the proposed property right. It is not based upon creativity. It is not based upon invention. It is a claim that the investment in transmitting information should create a 50 year exclusive right to content, far longer than the term of protection for databases in Europe, and more than 10 times the term of protection for test data for pharmaceutical clinical trials in the United States. This right is on top of the copyright in copyrighted work, and applies even to works in the public domain under copyright laws.
We don't give book publishers a layer of rights on top of copyright. We don't give the post office a layer of rights for delivering mail. We don't give taxi cab drivers a right to control the use of documents that are transported by passengers in their cars. Why do we decide to give broadcasters a right of 50 years?
James Love and Manon Ress of the Consumer Project on Technology
are circulating an open letter
asking the leadership of the House and Senate to block US support for a fast-track diplomatic conference on this controversial treaty until there has been analysis of its potential impact; you can learn more and sign the letter here
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