The WIPO is an agency of the United Nations based in Geneva. Currently a treaty is being negotiated there on ‘The Protection of Broadcasting Organisations’. Aspects of this treaty have provoked some concern by interested bodies.
To clarify Ireland’s position at the negotiations for this treaty, we contacted the Intellectual Property Unit of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. We reproduce the relevant sections of our query and their response, with the names of Officials redacted.
From McGarr Solicitors:
“I would be grateful if you could confirm whether the government supporting the introduction of a Broadcaster’s copyright in the negotiations on the above treaty and whether they are represented at the negotiations by Irish Officials or by an organ of the European Union.
If the latter, would any agreed treaty signed be considered to have been signed by the EU, or merely as having been signed by the EU on behalf of its member states?”
From The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment:
“While my colleague who is our Copyright expert is not currently in the office, I can tell you that the Irish Government is represented at the Copyright Committee meeting which is currently taking place in Geneva. I’m not immediately au fait with the negotiating position which is being assumed but can make further enquiries in this regard should you wish me to do so.
At these meetings it is normal for member countries of WIPO to be represented in their individual capacities. The European Commission is normally represented as an inter-Governmental organisation. In the case of all WIPO Treaties it is usual that member countries sign in an individual capacity. In the case of a minority of WIPO treaties e.g. the Madrid Protocol on the registration of trade marks, the European Community has also become a party to the Protocol. The Community could not in any way usurp an individual countries’ right to sign a treaty which is the point I think you are getting at.”