Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Morning session final day WIPO 13th September 06

After the solo performance of the chair of the committee yesterday with his promise of hugs and kisses and life long friendships at a Diplomatic conference this morning we heard the reaction from some delegates notably India and Brazil. It was not good for the Chair. They made it clear that there are still serious concerns and questioned the advisability of going for a Diplomatic conference (DC) (the final stage of Treaty making and the outcome pushed by the Chair) at this stage.

The last two days have been dominated by speculations about the series of bilateral discussions that have been taking place between the US, India, Brazil and the EU. While they have all had discussions with other countries, these parties are seen by many as the keys to whether an agreement for a Diplomatic Conference will be reached.

India introduced some reality into the situation and a strong rebuff to the idea that any differences could simply be resolved at a the DC. In an eloquent and detailed speech they pointed out that they still had major concerns that went to the heart of the treaty namely the inclusion of the references to webcasting ‘in its widest sense’ in the text and going beyond a signals based approach . Any further push for a Diplomatic Conference (DC) with first addressing this issue would likely lead to more acrimony than acceptance. They ended in the starkest terms, that if these 2 issues were not addressed and brought under some common understanding the "going up the garden path" to a DC would likely end in a fiasco.

Russia, Mexico and the Philipines then spoke in favour of going for a DC.

Brazil in a carefully worded intervention gave an insight into what has been discussed in private. Said that they would support to a certain extent a treaty which focused on a more narrower basis focusing on a right of transmission which was supported by ‘some delegates’. The reference to transmission by any means included over computer networks ( seen as the webcasting references) at least as a defensive measure was imperative to some members. The extent to which even this references would turn the Treaty into one which covered webcasting/simulcasting was the ‘million dollar question’ that required further discussion/research.

Then their main concern- which was on procedure. They were not prepared to agree to a DC based on the Chairs suggestion of delegates providing him with broad drafting instructions to prepare the text to be discussed at the DC. They would want to see the text.

Iran and Indonesia joined in criticism of the procedure . Iran wanted space before and DC to have a clean text . Indonesia wanted an impact study before a DC.

Chile with a great metaphor also criticized the rush to trying to establish a date for the DC without having a clear text. "you need to swim before buying a swimming pool".

There was then a break, when the talk was that there would be no DC and that India ‘s views were key. During that break the chair's draft of next steps was circulated which includes the controversial drafting steps and seeks to set a date for the DC.

The proposal for the afternoon is to go through this document point by point. Though the EU reserved the right to make a global, statement as they don’t think a point by point approach is the best way, as the issues are linked.

Then lunch. The chair met with India . The outcome is not known.

This afternoon session promises to be lively!