EU Commission Launches Public Consultation on Satellite and Cable Directive
Following the consultation on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive the EU Commission is now seeking public feedback on the Satellite and Cable Directive (Council Directive 93/83/EEC). The upcoming review of the Directive is part of the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy comprising 16 different initiatives. The Commission is seeking views from Member States' authorities, broadcasters, authors, audio visual and record producers, performers, collective management organisations, satellite and cable operators, internet and online service providers, consumers and other stakeholders. Aiming to enhance cross border access to broadcasting and related online services across the EU, the Commission wants to assess whether the current rules are still fit for the purpose and whether the Directive’s scope should be extended to cover online TV and radio broadcasts. The deadline for responses is the 16 November 2015.
By applying the so called “country of origin principle” to internet broadcasts the commission is probably trying to further tackle so called “geo-blocking”, referring to restrictions placed on access to online content on a geographic basis. The “country of origin principle” under the Directive allows broadcasters to legally broadcast content to the whole EU once rights have been cleared in one Member State. “Ending unjustified geo-blocking” is one of the explicit objectives of the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy and has apparently become one of the Commission’s main concerns lately. In July the Commission launched anti- trust proceedings against pay-TV broadcaster Sky UK and the Hollywood film studios Disney, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros for alleged geo-blocking.
Any questions? Please contact: Dr. Tobias Frevert
Practice Group: Telecommunications
Further reading: Consultation on the review of the EU Satellite and Cable Directive; EU seeks views on the Satellite and Cable Directive