It seems to me that this conference must be important to both vendors of webcasting technology and users of the software. It's especially timely given my last entry about the struggle for ownership and usage rights of a webcast being fought (rather unilaterally) by SYS-CON.
Reading through the proposed treaty text is the usual exercise in frustration, since the whole thing is written in international legalspeak. I am rather fond of their formal umbrella term for recorded broadcasts, which is "phonogram." It sounds so charmingly old-fashioned! I'm now waiting for a company to invite prospects to "an old-tyme country phonogram, featuring product demos, animated slides, and remote presenters live via streaming video. Just like grampa used to put on for Veterans Day!"
The proposed treaty declaration jumps right into the fray with an argument over how to define the term "broadcasting" for use in international law. One camp wants it restricted to wireless signals only. So they have defined "cablecasting" as using information over a wire. This strikes me as ludicrous on the face of it, since broadcast seems by definition to talk about content distributed broadly and does not mention a medium in the word, while "cablecasting" is entirely wrapped up in the medium. Isn't a cablecast one type of broadcast? Then they go and say a cablecast doesn't include information transmitted over computer cables. Yeesh... It gets worse and worse.
They are staying on safe ground by explicitly stating that the treaty refers to rights surrounding the signal itself as a container of content. They are not doing anything to affect normal copyright and content ownership laws.
Article 6 is where it starts getting interesting. This is effectively trying to widen the scope of protection for organizations that send out a signal containing some specific content. Sports fans will recognize it as that phrase they hear every time they watch a game on TV: "...no rebroadcast is permitted without the express written permission of the league..." The treaty is trying to make sure that computer distribution is covered. (This would probably not help SYS-CON in their argument, since CMP just put a link to the SYS-CON broadcast rather than retransmitting it themselves on their own domain.)
Articles 7, 8, and 9 play with specific extensions of the rebroadcast rights. Then in Article 10, we find the piece that would help SYS-CON: An organization has the rights to authorize or restrict distribution of its own content in its own form, whether somebody tries to hawk the original or a copy. So others can't decide to simply make it available as they wish. Watch out, CMP!
Those are the big pieces for me. There is a lot more content in the document, but it's mostly mechanics and special case definitions that aren't as sweeping in impact.
I'm no lawyer (as you'll see from my tortured simplifications of the long-winded definitions in the document), but I can spot serious legal impacts when they are so beautifully tied in with a real-world case. And I'm happy to see they are making the meeting available via live webcast. I just hope they can figure out who has the rights to the broadcast... cablecast... webcast... whatever.