June 25, 2007 / 2:11 PM / 12 years ago

U.N. broadcasting treaty talks suffer setback

GENEVA (Reuters) - Efforts to clinch a long-sought international broadcasting treaty have suffered a setback from lingering disagreements over signal piracy and the Internet, a top U.N. official said on Monday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) had planned to wrap up decade-long negotiations over the pact at a diplomatic conference at the end of 2007.

But divisions over signal piracy and the re-transmission of broadcasts over the Internet marred a preparatory session in Geneva last week, causing the U.N. agency to further extend the talks that started in some form in 1997.

“It is going to be a while before we return to convene a diplomatic conference,” WIPO Deputy Director-General Michael Keplinger told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He said WIPO’s general assembly would discuss a new schedule for the talks in September or October.

The new treaty would give more copyright and intellectual property safeguards for broadcasters, adding to the rights in the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, which predates much of modern television technology.

In a statement, the United States delegation to the talks said negotiators remained “far apart” on fundamental issues related to the new treaty, including the nature and extent of protections needed.

Parties to the negotiations have already agreed to exclude Webcasting from the intended pact.

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