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Audiovisual and sports organisations are “deeply concerned” over EU’s Country of Origin principle

18 entertainment trade organisations issue joint statement

A number of audiovisual and sports organisations have joined forces to issue a statement regarding the EU’s planned TV copyright deal.

The 18 organisations, including the Independent Film & Television Alliance, Spain’s LaLiga, the Premier League, Mediapro and Association of Commercial Television in Europe, said they “take note” of the political agreement reached by the European Institutions on the Online Broadcasting Directive

The statement says they welcome the recognition by the European Parliament and the Council of the importance of territorial exclusivity to the audiovisual sector in Europe and acknowledge their efforts to re-balance the original proposal which threatened their ability to create, finance and produce audiovisual content. 

“With the limitations introduced in the final compromise, the European co-legislators have introduced a once-off exception to territorially exclusive distribution arrangements and the territoriality of copyright,” said the statement. “These principles constitute crucial building blocks for a vibrant and diverse European audiovisual sector by promoting private sector creative and financial risk-taking and entrepreneurship. A strong signal has been sent to the European Commission to refrain from further initiatives which erode territorial exclusivity.”

However, the statement goes on to say that the organisations remain “deeply concerned that even the limited introduction of the Country of Origin principle for the licensing of rights in certain programmes in broadcasters’ ancillary online services in the Online Broadcasting Directive will adversely affect the complex eco-system of our sectors”. 

They warn that this would endanger cultural and linguistic diversity, plurality of content and business models, as well as competitiveness in the future audiovisual landscape in Europe. “We understand the definition of ‘ancillary’ services is still subject to final agreement and urge the European Institutions to define ‘ancillary’ services in the narrowest possible manner,” the statement said.

The statement concludes with the organisations stating that they will “continue to defend the principles of commercial and contractual freedom to agree territorial exclusivity and territoriality of copyright thus safeguarding maximum private sector investment in the development, creation, production and distribution of original EU content”.