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Statement by EIFL and IFLA
Agenda item 7: Protection of Broadcasting Organizations
Thank you, Mr Chairman. I am speaking on behalf of Electronic Information for Libraries and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.
We continue to believe that there is no compelling public policy reason for a new international instrument on the protection of broadcasting organizations because piracy of broadcast signals is already adequately dealt with under existing laws and treaties. Any new layer of rights that affects access to content is of concern to librarians because it imposes an additional barrier to access to knowledge, particularly content in the public domain.
If however, further work is to be done on the proposed treaty, it is essential that the signal protection should apply to the first broadcast of a work only, and not to re-broadcasts of the same work. Otherwise, broadcast organizations could have perpetual protection over a work simply by re-broadcasting it. Libraries have practical experience of this problem. For example, a major library in Europe wanted to publish a sound recording from their archive that was originally broadcast in the 1950’s. The recording was taken from a re-broadcast in the 1980’s. Although the performers’ rights had expired, and the author’s heirs waived their fees due to the “cultural importance of the work”, the library had to pay the broadcast organization approximately $10,000 for permission to use the recording. For many libraries, even large state-funded libraries in industralised countries, this is a significant barrier. In developing countries, such costs are out of the question. As a result, valuable works would remain hidden away in libraries and archives, depriving the public of their enjoyment of the work.
We take note of document SCCR/22/11 Elements for a Draft Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations. Article 14 states that the object of protection under the provisions of the draft treaty should not include mere retransmissions. While this may help with the problem described above, if the re-transmission of the work was embedded in a new context, it would not apply. Therefore to clarify, the object of protection should be the first transmission.
We thank you for your attention.
Delivered by Stuart Hamilton, IFLA