2 March 2006

Hello folks,

Please review the important joint statement below, related to the WIPO Broadcaster's Treaty, and consider adding your signature. 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:


CPTech Links on the Treaty:


Electronic Frontier Foundation Links:


IP Justice Links:


Union for the Public Domain Links:


The Latest Draft of the Treaty:


A survey of relevant links:


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 seth.p.johnson@gmail.com.

If your organization endorses the statement, please indicate that separately, so your organization will be listed under that header.

Thank you for consideration.

Seth Johnson
Corresponding Secretary
New Yorkers for Fair Use

Joint Statement to Congress:

Dear (Relevant Congressional Committees) (cc the WIPO Delegation):

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 work.

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 policy.

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 Fellow
    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 Carolina
    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 - Charlotte
    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 Networking
    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 America
    John Mitchell, InteractionLaw
    Tom Moritz, Chief, Knowledge Managment, Getty Research Institute
    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 design
    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


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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 works

   * 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 he public to make use of and benefit from published information

   * 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.