Monday, 18 October 2010

WIPO Gatherings in Nigeria

This week, Abuja, Nigeria is hosting two separate regional WIPO meetings.  Today through tomorrow morning (Monday and Tuesday) is the WIPO Regional Seminar on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations.  The broadcasting meeting is followed tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday by the WIPO Regional Seminar on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances in Africa.  Both programs are co-organized by WIPO and the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

Broadcasting Organizations Meeting

The agenda for the Broadcasting meeting (pdf) includes special sections on broadcasting for development and the need for an international agreement to protect broadcasting.  The attendees will be discussing the Draft WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations and looking at a number of case studies of broadcasting infringements in Africa.

Several studies relevant to the meeting are available from WIPO at the meeting’s main page.  One paper, entitled Study on the Socio Economic Dimension of the Unauthorized Use of Signals: Part I: Current Market and Technology Trends in the Broadcasting Sector (pdf), gives an overview of the broadcast/cable/satellite industry from the point of view of Screen Digest Ltd in London.  The study also includes a detailed synopsis of the industry in particular countries, among them Egypt (pdf pg 47), Ghana (pdf pg 50), Nigeria (pdf pg 51) and South Africa (pdf pg 52).

Part II: Unauthorized Access to Broadcast Content – Cause and Effects: A Global Overview (pdf), takes a regional look at unauthorized access, the effects of it, and barriers to legitimate access of broadcasts.  Most African piracy is still in physical form (such as DVDs), but there is also a large number of pirated satellite broadcasts, including showing of broadcasts to large public audiences without authorization.  The main causes listed are low incomes and lack of competition, and the main effect is a move away from satellite distribution and reduction in content production.  [Afro-Leo would have liked to see some citations or support for these later statements, especially the lack of competition and reduction in content when Nollywood is one of the to producers in the world and Nigeria has at least 5 satellite providers.]

Part III: Study on the Social and Economic Effects of the Proposed Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations (pdf) was prepared by a group of professors and researchers, instead of Screen Digest Ltd.  This 75-page document attempts to analyze the impact the proposed WIPO treaty will have on the many involved stakeholders (including artists, broadcasters and society).  After looking at many different types of unauthorized behaviors, the contributions theses uses make to society and the ramifications these uses have on stakeholders, the study concludes, “There is no way to effectively project the global effects of the treaty.” (pdf pg 72)  As unhelpful as that sounds, the next several paragraphs do offer some interesting insights.

Audiovisual Performances Meeting

The agenda (pdf) for the Audiovisual meeting is much more modest, a presentation on legal and policy considerations, a presentation on contracts and collective management, and then a day of discussions.

On the meeting’s main page, WIPO provides two other related documents, a summary of previous seminars on the topic and

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information on the main issues in protecting audio-visual performances.  Neither document specifically focuses on any countries in Africa, although conversations from the 2008 Regional Seminar in Lilongwe, Malawi did contribute to the summary of previous meetings. 

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