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Brussels accepts Disney, Sony commitments on pay-TV

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Brussels accepts Disney, Sony commitments on pay-TV

Image © Sergio J Lievano - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission accepted Thursday commitments offered by Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Sky regarding concerns over film licensing contracts for pay-TV with Sky UK.

The EU executive is making commitments offered by these st udios legally binding under EU antitrust rules.

TheCommission said the clauses prevented Sky UK from allowing EU consumers outside the UK and Ireland to subscribe to Sky UK's pay TV services to access films via satellite or online. They also required NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. to ensure that broadcasters other than Sky UK are prevented from making their pay-TV services available in the UK and Ireland.

Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. have now committed not to apply these clauses in existing film licensing contracts for pay-TV with any broadcaster in the European Economic Area (EEA). They have also committed to refrain from (re)introducing such clauses in film licensing contracts for pay-TV with any broadcaster in the EEA.

Similarly, Sky will neither apply existing clauses nor (re)introduce new ones in its film licensing contracts for pay-TV with Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.

Specifically, the commitments include:

  • When licencing its film output for pay-TV to a broadcaster in the EEA each committing studio, each committing studio will not (re)introduce contractual obligations that prevent such pay-TV broadcasters from providing cross-border passive sales to consumers that are located in the EEA but outside of the broadcasters' licensed territory (no "Broadcaster Obligation");
  • When licensing its film output for pay-TV to a broadcaster in the EEA, each committing studio will not (re)introduce contractual obligations that require the studios to prevent other pay-TV broadcasters located in the EEA from providing passive sales to consumers located in the licensed territory (no "Studio Obligation");
  • Each committing studio will not seek to enforce or bring an action before a court or tribunal for the violation of a Broadcaster Obligation and/or Studio Obligation, as applicable, in an existing agreement licensing its output for pay-TV.
  • Each committing studio will not enforce or honour any Broadcaster Obligation and/or Studio Obligation in an existing agreement licensing its output for pay-TV.

Similarly, in light of the results of this market test, the Commission is satisfied that the commitments offered by Sky address its concerns, and has made them legally binding on Sky:

  • Sky will neither (re)introduce Broadcaster Obligations nor Studio Obligations in agreements licensing the output for pay-TV of Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.; and
  • Sky will not seek to enforce Studio Obligations or honour Broadcaster Obligations in agreements licensing the output for pay-TV of Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.

The commitments are without prejudice to rights conferred on the committing studios under the "Portability Regulation" or under copyright law. They also do not affect the rights of the studios or a pay-TV broadcaster to decide unilaterally to employ geo-filtering technology.

More information, including the full version of the commitments, is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number AT.40023.


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