Negotiations on international broadcast rights fail

Talks on an international treaty updating broadcast rights to accommodate the Internet failed because countries were unable to agree how much legal and technological protection to afford broadcasters, a US official, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.


'It became clear that there was no agreement on any of the fundamental issues of the treaty,' Paul Salmon, head of the US delegation, told the Associated Press.


The Associated Press report said the treaty fell victim to disagreements over issues such as whether protection against piracy should cover only traditional broadcasting methods, meaning cable, antenna and satellite signals, or whether it should include retransmission over the Internet.


European countries wanted to give broadcasters rights over any content they transmit, even if they did not originally produce the content, the report said.


That type of rights-based treaty is opposed by electronics and telecommunication companies like Intel and Verizon, as well as librarian groups and consumer advocates, it added. They say it would stifle technological innovation and could prevent people from playing legal music or films over their home networks.


The groups have lobbied for a narrow treaty protecting only the signal itself from piracy.


The talks, which were held under the auspices of the United Nation's World Intellectual Property Organization, were meant to pave the way for an intergovernmental meeting in November to approve a treaty, the report said.


It would have been the first major regulation of broadcast rights on an international level since the 1961 Rome Convention, which many countries, including the United States, are not a party to.


Salmon said delegations would discuss how to proceed, the report further said.