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EC consults on extending copyright rules to internet TV services

European Commission 2The European Commission has launched a consultation on the EU Satellite and Cable Directive, looking at whether the rules on how satellite broadcasters and cable companies are fit for purpose in the digital age.

The Commission is also seeking views on the possible impact of extending existing copyright rules to services provided over the internet, with a view to enhancing cross-border access to broadcasting and related online services in line with Digital Single Market objectives.

Currently satellite rights are acquired for the EU country where, under the control and responsibility of the broadcasting organisation, the uplink, which sends the programme signal to the satellite for its communication to the public, takes place. Under this ‘country of origin’ principle, rights cleared in one country allow the broadcasting organisations to broadcast to the whole of the EU.

In the case of cable, operators, that ant to include broadcasts from other countries in the packages which they offer to customers, have to obtain the rights through collective management organisations or broadcasters. The Directive obliges authors, producers and performers to exercise their exclusive rights through a collective management organisation. However, broadcasters can license directly to cable operators their own rights or the rights that have been transferred to them.

The Commission now wants to assess to what extent the Satellite and Cable Directive has improved consumers’ cross-border access to services, and what would be the impact of extending the Directive to TV and radio programmes provided over the internet.

It is interested in hearing from consumers, public authorities, broadcasters, authors, audio-visual and record producers, performers, collective management organisations, satellite and cable operators, internet and online service providers and any other interested stakeholder in the consultation which is open until November 16.