Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WIPO Treaty Shifts Control From Artists to Broadcasters...

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is part of the U.N., has been considering a new treaty which would give internet broadcasters the right to claim intellectual property rights over content served through their networks. As I've written about before, the opposition to this treaty is enormous, and WIPO would do much to keep its credibility intact if it heeded the warnings of treaty opponents, rather than cave to the pressures of lobbyists.

As it currently stands, the language of the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty would grant intellectual property rights to whoever was broadcasting music or video on the internet - allowing them to decide what to do with that content, regardless of the wishes of the actual copyright owners. For example, if I write a song and decide that I want to share it for free and legally with a Creative Commons license, then Verizon or Cablevision can actually prevent me from doing so. They can even encrypt my material, add identifying tags to make collecting royalty payments and tracking easier, and even prevent me from sharing it altogether.

For anyone out there who has been defending the music industry's tactics "to protect the artists", this treaty ought to incense you. It would strip away artists' rights over their own material LEGALLY, and consequently, also destroy artists' incentives to create, making piracy over P2P networks seem like a minuscule threat in comparison.

Here is a link to a petition if you'd like to express displeasure with this new proposed WIPO treaty.
  

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