Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, February 17, 2006

More on the webcasting treaty

James Boyle, More rights are wrong for webcasters, Financial Times, February 17, 2006. Excerpt:
I teach intellectual property law....Are we doing a good job of writing [IP] rules? The answer is no. Three tendencies stand out. First and most lamentably, intellectual property laws are created without any empirical evidence that they are necessary or that they will help rather than hurt. Second, the policymaking process has failed to keep track of the increasing importance of intellectual property rights to everything from freedom of expression and communications policy to economic development or access to educational materials. We still make law as though it were just a deal brokered between industry groups....The public interest in competition, access, free speech and vigorous technological markets takes a back seat. What matters is making the big boys happy. Finally, communications networks are increasingly built around intellectual property rules, as law regulates technology more and more directly; not always to good effect. The World Intellectual Property Organisation has now managed to combine all three lamentable tendencies at once. The Broadcasting and Webcasting Treaty, currently being debated in Geneva, is an IP hat trick.