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Sports broadcasters must limit news access costs: EU court

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Sports broadcasters must limit news access costs: EU court

Photo © Rui Araujo - Fotolia

(LUXEMBOURG) - Major football TV rights-holders could face restrictions on fees charged to other broadcasters for news clips, according to European Court advice released on Tuesday.

Holders of exclusive rights "must... allow other channels established in the EU to use short extracts so that they may transmit short news reports," a legal advisor to the European Court of Justice said.

Extracts must not exceed 90 seconds, must only be shown on general news programmes and rights-holders must be credited on-screen.

The opinion was sought on a case raised in Austria concerning Europa League football, for teams that miss out on the flagship UEFA Champions League.

"The compensation linked to that use may not exceed the additional costs directly incurred in providing that access," the advice concluded.

The decision may irritate some rights-holders who invariably pay big sums for exclusivity with the goal of driving subscriptions and advertising.

The court's advocate-general, whose advice is usually followed by judges in Luxembourg, said there had to be a "fair balance" between "the right to property and the freedom to conduct a business", and "the freedom to receive information and media pluralism."

The decision was based on the principle that the European Union wants to create "a European opinion and information area".

Opinion of the Advocate General in the case C-283/11 - Sky Österreich

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