A Moron In A Hurry

June 13, 2006

New Copyright Treaty in the Works

Filed under: copyright — nick @ 4:56 pm

It appears that the US is behind a new treaty that would extend intellectual property rights to cover anything that is broadcast or webcast:

Now imagine creating an entirely new layer of rights over everything that is broadcast or webcast, on top of whatever copyrights already cover the work. You find a copy of a movie in the library and manage, at great expense, to work out that it is in the public domain, or to get the copyright holder’s permission. Perhaps the work is covered by a Creative Commons license, granting you permission to reproduce. Not so fast! Even after trudging through all the orphan works problems in copyright, you would have to prove that this copy had not been made from a broadcast or webcast. More clearance problems! More middle-men! More empirically ungrounded state-granted monopolies! Just what we wanted. There are even some serious free speech problems.

It’s an old trick.  Congress supports making international treaties more draconian so it can defend its domestic actions by saying “We’re merely trying to step in line with the rest of the world.”  By the way, William Patry made this point as to this treaty a while ago.  It certainly is convenient that Congress is so concerned with world opinion when that opinion is driven by domestic corporate interests.  And where are the complaints of foreign or international law shaping our Constitution?

Thanks Slashdot


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