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EU institutions reach deal on cross-border access to online content

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EU institutions reach deal on cross-border access to online content

TV - Photo European Parliament

(BRUSSELS) - Parliament, Commission and Council negotiators reached a political agreement Thursday on proposed EU copyright legislation to make online TV and radio programmes more easily available in Europe.

The agreement includes mechanisms to facilitate the clearance of copyright and related rights of radio and TV content for cross-border digital broadcast and retransmissions. The new rules are expected to provide for a wider distribution of news and current affairs programmes and promote wider access to information.

"This regulation has the potential to unlock a large amount of broadcast content across borders, benefiting the 41% of Europeans who watch TV online but also the 20 million EU citizens who were born in a different EU country from the one they live in," said the EC's vice-president for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.

It is a "double win" for European's cultural diversity, added Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel: "citizens will have better access to Europe's rich content, and creators and authors will be adequately rewarded for their content."

According to the new rules, broadcasting organisations that want to transmit their services cross-border would need to clear copyright and related rights only in their EU country of establishment (known as the "country of origin" principle). Currently, this needs to be done for each member state of broadcast.

Parliament and Council agreed that these rules will only apply to radio or TV news and current affairs programmes, fully financed own productions of the broadcasting organisations, meaning broadcasters could make their content available online in other countries at the same time as their broadcast or as catch-up services. Sport events are excluded.

Council and Parliament will have to formally endorse the agreement before it enters into force.

The Satellite and Cable Directive (usually referred as the SatCab Directive) was introduced in 1993 to facilitate cross-border broadcasting services by satellite and cable retransmission of programmes within the EU. This legislation harmonises national provisions concerning the right of communication to the public by satellite and the right of retransmission by cable. However, broadcasters face practical difficulties with the acquisition of rights for cross-border online services, which are more and more in demand, especially among young audiences.

Due to the principle of territoriality, broadcasters transmitting online TV and radio programmes need to clear the rights for the relevant territories in order to make their services available across borders. This process is complex and costly, as authorisation needs to be obtained from a multitude of rightsholders quickly. As a result, broadcasters often make their content available in a single member state and put geo-blocking measures in place.

Procedure file, European Parliament

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