Last year, we took a letter from 20 webcasters opposing this to WIPO. They temporarily abandoned webcasting then, but now there are sneaky moves afoot to get it back on the table.
The Consumer Project on Technology is petitioning the Library of Congress and US Patent and Trademark Office to go back to WIPO and tell them to abandon this bizarre proposal to confer ownership of information to the person whose sole contribution to it is converting it to packets and sending it down the wire.
CPTech renews its request that the USPTO or the Library of Congress (LOC) invite formal public comment on the proposal to create a new International Treaty obligation establishing a novel intellectual property regime for webcasting, through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).Link
The treaty language proposed for a "webcasting"right would create a new layer of property rights, lasting at least 50 years, for materials that are transmitted by web servers over the Internet and other networks. Unlike copyright, the new webcaster right is not based upon a creative contribution. Any material, including material in the public domain, or licensed for public dissemination under a creative commons type license, would be burdened with this new layer of rights, which accompany any "public transmission" of any combination or representations of sounds and or images.[ft 1]
There are no formalities for the new rights. They will automatic increase the transaction costs associating with redistributing or reusing information distributed from web pages...
One has to ask, how can Yahoo and a handful of companies succeed in pushing a global treaty on webcasting when almost no countries have even enacted such laws? As far as we know, only Finland has attempted to create something like the webcasting right. The United States has certainly not enacted such a law, and it is highly unlikely the US Congress would ever do so. This is because many in the US Congress actually understand the benefits of freedom, and the dangers of excessive government regulation of the Internet.