EU Approves Cross-border Access to TV & Radio Broadcasts

European Union

The European Union has approved new legislation which will allow for the radio and television networks to be broadcast across borders throughout its member states.

The new rules will provide:

> New opportunities for broadcasters, through the country of origin principle that will facilitate the licensing of rights, to make certain programmes on their online services available across borders (services covered are simulcasting, catch-up services and other services that complement the main broadcast, such as previews).
> A wider choice of radio and TV programmes offered by re-transmission services provided through Internet Protocol television (IPTV), satellite, digital terrestrial, mobile networks or over the internet. The Directive applies a facilitated rights clearance mechanism – the system of compulsory collective management – to re-transmission services provided through means other than cable (e.g. over internet), making it easier to obtain authorisations required to re-transmit radio and TV channels from other Member States.
> Legal certainty for transmissions of radio and TV programmes through direct injection, ensuring that rights holders are adequately remunerated when their works are used in programmes transmitted through direct injection.

The European Commission welcomed the positive vote for the Directive that will simplify cross-border distribution and re-transmission of television and radio programmes.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said in a joint statement: “We welcome the approval of the Directive on television and radio programmes by the European Parliament. With today’s vote, we are completing the modernisation of the EU copyright rules launched in 2015 and we are getting another step closer to a fully functioning Digital Single Market.

“Radio and TV programmes are an essential source of information, culture and entertainment for European citizens. The new rules will offer better access to such programmes across the Union, for the benefit of cultural diversity. They will make it easier for European broadcasters to make large parts of their TV and radio programmes available online in all EU countries, while ensuring that creators, authors and rights holders are adequately paid for the use of their content.

“The new rules will be particularly relevant for the 41% of Europeans who watch TV online but also for the linguistic minorities, as well as the 20 million EU citizens who are living abroad in another EU country.

“Together with the portability rules allowing Europeans to travel with their online subscriptions, with the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty providing better access to books to blind and visually impaired people, as well as the new Copyright Directive designed to bring tangible benefits to citizens, creative sectors, and the press, we are completing our broader initiative to bring EU copyright rules up to date for the digital age.”

The text adopted today by the European Parliament will have to be formally endorsed by the Council of the European Union. Once published in the Official Journal of the EU, Member States will have 24 months to transpose the new rules into their national legislation.

In September 2016, the European Commission proposed a Regulation to facilitate the licensing of rights for certain online transmissions of broadcasters and re-transmissions of television and radio programmes. As part of the political agreement reached on 13 December 2018, the EU co-legislators agreed to turn the proposed Regulation into a Directive.

This Directive complements the rules set out in the existing Satellite and Cable Directive (Directive 93/83/EEC), which already facilitates cross-border satellite broadcasting and re-transmission by cable of TV and radio programmes from other Member States.

The rules on broadcasters’ online transmissions will apply to all radio programmes, and to certain television programmes (news and current affairs programmes and fully financed own productions of broadcasters).

Want to learn more? Read our full Q&A about the EU Directive here.

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