WIPO General Assembly 2015: Statement of United States on Broadcasting Treaty and Copyright Limitations and Exceptions

On Wednesday, 7 October 2015, the United States of America delivered the following statement on agenda item 12 (Report on the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights). The US expressed support for a broadcasting treaty under a signal-based approach, focused on "unauthorized simultaneous or near-simultaneous retransmission of broadcast signals to the public over any type of platform, including the Internet."

On copyright limitations and exceptions, the US expressed support for

further work in the SCCR to develop high-level principles for and improving national copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives and educational activities.

The full text of the US intervention can be found below.

Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

The United States supports updating protection for broadcasting organizations under the terms of the 2006/2007 WIPO GA mandate, which calls for a “signal-based approach” to provide protection for the activities of broadcasting organizations “in the traditional sense.”

Consistent with that mandate, the United States believes that such protection should be narrow in scope, and that it should focus on the unauthorized simultaneous or near-simultaneous retransmission of broadcast signals to the public over any type of platform, including the Internet. Such a right would permit broadcasters to receive remuneration for authorized retransmissions and to prevent unauthorized retransmission.

Within this framework, the United States is actively preparing for the December 2015 session of the SCCR. The United States is committed to working with other WIPO members on further narrowing the treaty text in a manner consistent with the terms of the GA mandate.

Copyright Exceptions and Limitations

The U.S. delegation played a leadership role at the Diplomatic Conference that resulted in adoption the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually or Otherwise Print Disabled in 2013. The United States, however, does not support further norm-setting work that would require countries to adopt copyright exceptions and limitations.

In the view of the United States, the current international framework for copyright exceptions and limitations provides the appropriate flexibility, consistent with well-established international standards, for countries to enact exceptions and limitations to advance their own national social, cultural and economic policies.

The United States does support further work in the SCCR to develop high-level principles for and improving national copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives and educational activities. Once these principles are developed, WIPO members could work together to improve and update their national laws.

The United States also supports work aimed at deepening the understanding of the Committee of national copyright limitations and exceptions for persons with disabilities other than visual impairment such as the proposal for WIPO- commissioned study on the topic.

The United States is also opposed to any linkage between the proposed draft broadcasters’ treaty and copyright exceptions and limitations. We note that work on the broadcasters’ treaty is considerably more advanced and should be considered in its own right. As a result, the United States would oppose any claim that work on the broadcasters’ treaty cannot move forward without work on copyright exceptions and limitations.