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Digital Rights Management

Survey on WIPO Broadcasting Treaty

5 May, 2004
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The Union for the Public Domain is organising a survey about the way governments act in the preparation of the proposed WIPO Broadcasting Treaty. The draft stands to give broadcasters the power to regulate copying, reproduction, distribution and right of transmission. It would extend the length of these powers from 20 to 50 years, and some versions expand the powers to web-casting. The treaty would also make it illegal to circumvent technological protection measures like broadcast flags. All of this even if the broadcast is of a public domain work.

One of the major difficulties of protecting the public domain against these threats is that the positions of national representatives in these international forums are unknown, even to citizens of the country they represent.

The Union for the Public Domain calls on all interested citizens to first contact the co-ordinator and then use the questionnaire to collect information about national positions. The results will be posted on the unions website.

Recommended reading

27 February, 2004
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The Article 29 Working Party, the European collaboration of the Data Protection Authorities, has published a (brief!) 'Working Document on Trusted Computing Platforms and in particular on the work done by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG group).' It is a balanced description of 'work in progress', since there are not many end-user applications yet, besides some widely published tests with Digital Rights Management.

The document offers general observations derived from privacy principles, like the need to distinguish between usage in a corporate and in a private environment and the need to provide clear information to users, while always protecting the security of data.

"Both those who design technical specifications and those who actually build or implement applications or operating systems bear responsibility for the data protection aspects, although at different levels. Those who build, commercialise and use the applications bear responsibilities as well, especially organisations that process user data, as they will normally be the last one in the chain and the ones who interact with the user."

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