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European Parliament rejects ending audiovisual territory licensing

The European Parliament has rejected proposed legislation intended to prevent territory-by-territory licensing of programming across the European Union (EU), reports Informitv. Only news and current affairs will be prevented from unjustified geo-blocking. “It is a set-back for the digital single market strategy of the European Commission, intended to provide free movement of services within the EU. The Commission has argued that viewers should be able to access online services from anywhere within the EU. The Sat Cab regulation proposed to facilitate cross-border access to programming by extending the country of origin principle from satellite and cable to online distribution. Effectively, this would mean that broadcasters could clear rights for programming in the member state in which they are established and make it available online throughout the EU. The suggestion horrified Hollywood and many sports rights holders. This would potentially devalue rights that have historically been assigned on a territory-by-territory basis.” The European Parliament voted against most of the proposed Sat Cab regulation, upholding the opinion of its Committee for Legal Affairs to reject the country of origin proposal for all but news and current affairs programmes.

“Many rights holders will welcome this, although it may continue to frustrate consumers. Some broadcasters might have benefited from being able to distribute programming online throughout the EU; the European Broadcasting Union expressed disappointment at the vote.” Its head of European Affairs, Nicola Frank, said: “The Sat Cab regulation was originally devised to enhance the circulation of content in Europe and enable both consumers and Europe’s audiovisual sector to reap the benefits of the digital single market. Today’s vote goes against these intentions, maintaining a fragmented European audiovisual market and turning down enhanced access to European culture for citizens. The procedure is not over and we hope that upcoming milestones in the adoption of this regulation will lead to a better outcome.” Read more

  • Monday, 18 December 2017

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