EC Considers Extension of Cable/Satellite Copyright Rules to Online Distribution

By Ignasi Guardans and Dr. Martin von Albrecht 

The European Commission has just launched a public consultation on a 1993 Directive on copyright rules  applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission, which essentially seeks views on a possible extension of the Directive to Internet distribution.

The EC is asking whether EU rules, which define where and how satellite broadcasters and cable companies should clear copyrights, are up-to-date.  It is also seeking views on the impact of extending these rules to cover broadcaster services (including TV and radio) provided over the Internet. This consultation is one of the 16 initiatives announced in the Commission’s plan for the Digital Single Market.  According to the release, the EC is trying to enhance cross border access to broadcasting and related online services across the EU.

In a related consultation on the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which runs until September 30, the EC is also seeking input on the current framework regulating Europe’s audiovisual media landscape.  The AVMSD underpins the principle of the freedom to transmit and receive television broadcasts or on-demand services across the EU.

Response to the satellite and cable copyright consultation is due November 16, 2015 and is open to Member States’ authorities, broadcasters, authors, audio-visual and record producers, performers, collective management organizations, satellite and cable operators, Internet and online service providers, consumers and any other interested stakeholders.  Typically, following receipt of public input, consultation results will be published within a month of its deadline, followed by the development of a legislative proposal by the EC and it presentation to the European Parliament and Council for consideration.

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