With less than 24 hours until the global talks are scheduled to adjourn, it is unclear which of the remaining proposed ideas for updating international copyright law for cyberspace will pass muster.
After three weeks of contentious debate, delegates to the World Intellectual Property conference are feverishly hammering out compromises on two of three treaties that would amend the century-old Berne convention on copyrights during final negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The third treaty, on database protection, was quietly abandoned last week as a result of high-profile and prolonged opposition from computer industry, library, and consumer advocacy groups. These organizations said the treaty would have granted overly broad rights to database creators, chilling competition and curbing the free flow of information.
Computer, telecommunications, and online industry groups have also gone on the record against two provisions of the treaties still under consideration. One could hold Internet service providers liable for copyright infringements on their networks; the other could make it illegal to break copy-protection technologies, which would also make "backward engineering" a crime.
Only the first treaty, which covers literary and artistic works, appears likely to be ready for a vote before the negotiations adjourn tomorrow afternoon, observers in Geneva say. However, because of lack of consensus, it is expected the treaty will pass in substantially reduced form.
It is less clear whether the second treaty, on the rights of music creators, will be ready for a vote. That pact still contains many disputed provisions, which delegates have until midnight tonight to hammer out.