In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 40th session of the Committee, which is taking place in a hybrid format of in-person and online participation from 16 to 20 November 2020.
The following is the statement made on behalf of Communia on the protection of broadcasting organizations (Agenda Item 5):
I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA, an association that works to protect and defend the public domain and users’ rights. We would like to start by congratulating you on your appointment. We would also like to pay our respects to Ms. Carole Croella.
We understand that the draft of the Broadcasting Treaty gives broadcasters perpetual rights over public domain and freely licensed content, which is extremely problematic for users.
Without this extra layer of rights, these works can be used without restriction, and this freedom should be maintained.
In addition, we are concerned that the current proposal for exceptions only gives countries the option to extend already existing exceptions to broadcasting signals. Obviously, countries can choose not to exercise that option, and if they opt not to, the Treaty will be creating new obstacles to access to culture and information.
Exceptions are essential to achieve a balance between the interests of the broadcasting organizations and the public interest. The vision that supra-national instruments should only mandate the introduction of new rights, without imposing adequate exceptions, is outdated and turns a blind eye to the fact that copyright can prevent the exercise of fundamental freedoms.
It is about time for this Committee to align itself with the knowledge produced by its academics and by its courts, which have over and over again referred to the need for a balanced view of copyright.
The Treaty should include a broad provision like the one contained in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which makes it mandatory for each Party to provide an appropriate balance in its copyright system, including by means of exceptions for legitimate purposes. In addition, it should have a minimum set of mandatory exceptions, namely for the uses already required by other copyright treaties.