Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Lisa Mak


Since November 1998, the Standing Committee on Copyright Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization has been drafting a new Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations that would provide copyright-like protection to broadcasting entities in signatory countries. As currently drafted, it would introduce a new layer of intellectual property rights that would be separate from, and in addition to, the rights of copyright holders. If implemented in the United States, the Treaty would represent a substantial shift from the norms and traditions of U.S. copyright law. This note will analyze how the Treaty might negatively impact the public's use of and access to information. Specifically, the Treaty could limit the amount of work available in the public domain, obstruct the public's ability to use works under the fair use doctrine or with personal consumer technology, and restrict the flow of information on the Internet. This note will conclude with several suggestions that may alleviate some of these concerns.