[sf-perl] [politics] WIPO strikes again

Quinn Weaver qw at sf.pm.org
Sun Mar 5 12:03:21 PST 2006

I don't normally forward political stuff, but this is important,
imminent, and under-publicized.  In short, WIPO is looking to apply
broadcasting rules to Internet content, pretty much across the board.
(Whether the Internet needs more regulation, I leave to you to

It's a complicated issue, but that is exactly why it needs airing
before an elected body.  The WIPO "bill" would compel signing
nations to pass legislation enforcing it, just as with the infamous

There is a call for Congress to take up the issue with a suitable
public comment period, rather than just letting WIPO make the call.
That's what this petition is about.

You must sign by Monday or Tuesday to have an effect.

Read on if you're interested...

----- Forwarded message from Seth Johnson <seth.johnson at RealMeasures.dyndns.org> -----

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Date: Thu, 02 Mar 2006 08:38:29 -0500
From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson at RealMeasures.dyndns.org>
Organization: Real Measures
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Subject: Important Statement to Review for Signing
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Hello folks,

Please review the important joint statement below, related to the
WIPO Broadcaster's Treaty, and consider adding your signature if
you are an American citizen.  Also make sure those you know who
should sign are also given the opportunity.

Andy Oram has written a good letter to the US Delegation to WIPO
on the subject:
> http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/etel/2006/01/13/the-problem-with-webcasting.html?page=2

CPTech Links on the Treaty:
> http://www.cptech.org/ip/wipo/bt/index.html#Coments
Electronic Frontier Foundation Links:
> http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/broadcasting_treaty/
IP Justice Links:
> http://www.ipjustice.org/WIPO/broadcasters.shtml
Union for the Public Domain Links:
> http://www.public-domain.org/?q=node/47

The Latest Draft of the Treaty:
> http://www.cptech.org/ip/wipo/sccr12.2rev2.doc

A survey of relevant links:
> http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/wipo_and_the_war_against_the_i.html

If you choose to sign, please send your name along with an
affiliation or appropriate short phrase to attach to your name
for identification purposes, to mailto:seth.p.johnson at gmail.com. 
If your organization endorses the statement, please indicate that
separately, so your organization will be listed under that

Thank you for consideration.

Seth Johnson
Corresponding Secretary
New Yorkers for Fair Use

Joint Statement to Congress:

Dear (Relevant Congressional Committees) (cc the WIPO

Negotiations are currently underway at the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO) to develop a treaty giving
broadcasters power to suppress currently lawful communications.
The United States delegation is also advocating similar rights
for "webcasters" through which the authors of new works
communicate them to the public.

Some provisions of the proposed "Treaty on the Protection of
Broadcasting Organizations" would merely update and standardize
existing legal norms, but several proposals would require
Congress to enact sweeping new laws that give private parties
control over information, communication, and even copyrighted
works of others, whenever they have broadcast or "webcast" the

The novel policy areas addressed by this treaty go beyond
ordinary treaty-making that seeks worldwide adherence to U.S.
policy. Instead, this initiative invades Congress? prerogative to
develop and establish national policy.  Indeed, even as Congress
is debating how best to protect network neutrality, treaty
negotiators are debating how to eliminate it.

The threat to personal liberties presented by this treaty is too
grave to allow these new policy initiatives be handed over to an
unelected delegation to negotiate with foreign countries, leaving
Congress with the sole option whether to acquiesce.  When dealing
with policies that are related to copyright and communications,
Congress's assigned powers and responsibility under Article I,
Section 8 of the Constitution become particularly important.  We
urge two important steps.  First, the new proposed regulations
should be published in the Federal Register, with an invitation
to the public to comment. Second, the appropriate House and
Senate committees should hold hearings to more fully explore the
impact of these novel legal restrictions on commerce, freedom of
speech, copyright holders, network neutrality, and communications

Americans currently enjoy substantial freedoms with respect to
broadcast and webcast communications.  Under the proposed treaty,
the existing options available to commercial enterprises and
entrepreneurs as well as the general public to communicate news,
information and entertainment would be limited by a new private
gatekeeper who adds nothing of value to the content.
Communications policies currently under discussion at the FCC
would be impacted.  Individuals and small businesses would be
limited in their freedom of speech.  Copyright owners would find
their freedom to license their works limited by whether the work
had been broadcast or webcast.  The principle of network
neutrality, already the subject of congressional hearings, would
be all but destroyed.

As able as the staff of the United States Patent and Trademark
Office and the Library of Congress may be, it was never intended
that they alone should stake out the United States national
policy to be promoted before an unelected international body in
entirely new areas abridging civil liberties. Congress should be
the first to establish America?s national policies in this new
area so that our WIPO delegation will have sufficient guidance to
achieve legitimate objectives without impairing Constitutional
principles such as freedom of speech and assembly, without
impairing the value of copyrights, and without granting to
private parties arbitrary power to suppress existing freedoms or
burden new technologies.

We cannot afford for Congress to wait for the Senate to be
presented with a fully formed treaty calling for the enacting of
domestic law at odds with fundamental American liberties foreign
to American and international legal norms, and that would bring
to a close many of the benefits of widespread personal computing
and the end-to-end connectivity brought by the Internet.  We ask
Congress to use its authority now to shape these important
communications policies impacting constitutionally based
copyright laws and First Amendment liberties.


(Affiliations for individual signers are for identification
only.  Endorsing organizations are listed separately.)

    William Abernathy, Independent Technical Editor
    Scottie D. Arnett, President, Info-Ed, Inc.
    Jonathan Askin, Pulver.com
    John Bachir, Ibiblio.org
    Tom Barger, DMusic.com
    Fred Benenson, FreeCulture.org
    Daniel Berninger, VON Coalition
    Eric Blossom, GNU Radio
    Joshua Breitbart, Media Tank
    Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
    Michael Calabrese, Vice President, New America Foundation
    Dave A. Chakrabarti, Community Technologist, CTCNet Chicago
    Steven Cherry, Senior Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
    Steven Clift, Publicus.Net
    Roland J. Cole, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, Software 
        Patent Institute
    Gordon Cook, Editor, Publisher and Owner since 1992 of the 
        COOK Report on Internet Protocol
    Walt Crawford, Editor/Publisher, Cites & Insights
    Cynthia H. de Lorenzi, Washington Bureau for ISP Advocacy
    Cory Doctorow, Author, journalist, Fulbright Chair, EFF 
    Marshall Eubanks, CEO, AmericaFree.tv
    Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Media Access Project
    Miles R. Fidelman, President, The Center for Civic Networking
    Richard Forno  (bio: http://www.infowarrior.org/rick.html)
    Laura N. Gasaway, Professor of Law, University of North 
    Paul Gherman, University Librarian, Vanderbilt University
    Shubha Ghosh, Professor of Law, Southern Methodist University
    Paul Ginsparg, Cornell University
    Fred R. Goldstein, Ionary Consulting
    Robin Gross, IP Justice
    Michael Gurstein, New Jersey Institute for Technology
    Jon Hall, President, Linux International
    Chuck Hamaker, Atkins Library, University of North Carolina -
    Charles M. Hannum, consultant, founder of The NetBSD Project
    Dewayne Hendricks, CEO, Dandin Group
    David R Hughes, CEO, Old Colorado City Communications, 1993 
        EFF Pioneer Award
    Paul Hyland, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
    David S. Isenberg, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, isen.com, LLC
    Seth Johnson, New Yorkers for Fair Use
    Paul Jones, School of Information and Library Science, 
        University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
    Peter D. Junger, Professor of Law Emeritus, Case Western 
        Reserve University
    Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive
    Jerry Kang, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
    Dennis S. Karjala, Jack E. Brown Professor of Law, Arizona 
        State University
    Dan Krimm, Independent Musician
    Michael J. Kurtz, Astronomer and Computer Scientist, Harvard-
        Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
    Michael Maranda, President, Association For Community 
    Kevin Marks, mediAgora
    Anthony McCann, www.beyondthecommons.com
    Sascha Meinrath, Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network, 
        Free Press
    Edmund Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director, U.S. Public 
        Interest Research Group
    Lee N. Miller, Ph.D., Editor Emeritus, Ecological Society of 
    John Mitchell, InteractionLaw
    Tom Moritz, Chief, Knowledge Managment, Getty Research 
    Andrew Odlyzko, University of Minnesota
    Ken Olthoff, Advisory Board, EFF Austin
    Andy Oram, Editor, O'Reilly Media
    Bruce Perens (bio at http://perens.com/Bio.html)
    Ian Peter, Senior Partner, Ian Peter and Associates Pty Ltd
    Malla Pollack, Law Professor, American Justice School of Law
    Jeff Pulver, Pulver.com
    Tom Raftery, PodLeaders.com
    David P. Reed, contributor to original Internet Protocol 
    Jerome H. Reichman, Bunyan S. Womble Professor of Law
    Lawrence Rosen, Rosenlaw & Einschlag; Stanford University 
        Lecturer in Law
    Bruce Schneier, security technologist and CTO, Counterpane
    David J. Smith, Specialist of Distributed Content 
        Distribution and Protocols, Michigan State University
    Michael E. Smith, LXNY
    Richard Stallman, President, Free Software Foundation
    Fred Stutzman, Ph.D. Student, UNC Chapel Hill
    Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director, Public Knowledge
    Jay Sulzberger, New Yorkers for Fair Use
    Aaron Swartz, infogami
    Stephen H. Unger, Professor, Computer Science Department, 
        Columbia University
    Eric F. Van de Velde, Ph.D., Director, Library Information 
        Technology, California Institute of Technology
    Tom Vogt, independent computer security researcher
    David Weinberger, Harvard Berkman Center
    Frannie Wellings, Free Press
    Adam Werbach, President, Ironweed Films
    Stephen Wolff, igewolff.net
    Brett Wynkoop, Wynn Data Ltd.
    John Young, Cryptome.org

Endorsing Organizations:

    Association For Community Networking (AFCN)
    The Center for Civic Networking
    Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
    Contact Communications
    The COOK Report on Internet Protocol
    Champaign-Urbana Community Wireless Network
    Dandin Group
    Free Press
    Free Software Foundation
    Illinois Community Technology Coalition
    Internet Archive
    Ionary Consulting
    IP Justice
    isen.com, LLC
    New Yorkers for Fair Use
    Old Colorado City Communications
    Rosenlaw & Einschlag
    U.S. Public Interest Research Group
    Washington Bureau for ISP Advocacy


[separate one-page attachment]


If Congress were to hold public hearings, or if the US delegation
to WIPO were to publish the current proposal for public review
and comment, myriad voices from various segments of society could
come forward to show that the proposed Broadcaster's Treaty:

   * Is written to look like existing copyright treaties, but it 
     is not based on the constitutional requirements for 
     copyright protection, such as originality, and in fact is 
     antagonistic to copyrights

   * Is promoted as a way of standardizing existing signal 
     protection, but in fact extends well beyond signal 
     protection by giving broadcasters and webcasters a monopoly, 
     for 50 years, over the content created by others the moment 
     it is broadcast or transmitted over the Internet

   * Gives broadcasters greater rights than producers of original 

   * Accords exclusive rights to non-authors in direct violation 
     of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution

   * Attacks the principle of network neutrality which serves as 
     the basis by which the Internet has fostered a profound 
     expansion in human capacities and innovation

   * Grants privileges that extend beyond broadcast signals to 
     actually give broadcasters control over works conveyed 
     within a broadcast -- including copyrighted and public 
     domain works

   * Blocks fair use and other copyright provisions that enable 
     the public to make use of and benefit from published 

   * Chills freedom of expression by extending unwarranted 
     controls over broadcast publication

   * Benefits broadcasters at the expense of the web, the public 
     and future innovation

   * Creates a de facto tax on copyrights, freedom of speech, 
     communications and technological progress, all for the 
     benefit of broadcasters and webcasters who have added 
     nothing to deserve such a windfall.

----- End forwarded message -----

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