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WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

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Publication Date: January 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22585

Topic: Media, telecommunications, and information (Broadcasting)


Because existing international agreements relevant to broadcasting protections do not cover advancements in broadcasting technology that were not envisioned when they were concluded, in 1998 the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) decided to proceed with efforts to negotiate and draft a new treaty that would extend protection to new methods of broadcasting, but has yet to achieve consensus on a text. In recent years, a growing signal piracy problem has increased the urgency of concluding a new treaty, resulting in a decision to restrict the focus to signal-based protections for traditional broadcasting organizations and cablecasting. Consideration of controversial issues of protections for webcasting (advocated by the United States) and simulcasting will be postponed. However, considerable work remains to achieve a final proposed text as the basis for formal negotiations to conclude a treaty by the end of 2007, as projected. A concluded treaty would not take effect for the United States unless Congress enacts implementing legislation and the United States ratifies the treaty with the advice and consent of the Senate. Noting that the United States is not a party to the 1961 Rome Convention, various stakeholders have argued that a new broadcasting treaty is not needed, that any new treaty should not inhibit technological innovation or consumer use, and that Congress should exercise greater oversight over U.S. participation in the negotiations.