WHAT IS AT STAKE?
Public service media (PSM) organizations create, produce, assemble and distribute a vast amount of original programmes on a daily basis for TV, radio, linear online and on-demand services. Our Members make an unparalleled contribution to the creative economy in Europe, with an investment of roughly 16 billion euros a year in original European content. Behind most of these programmes lie a vast number of rights and a wide variety of rights holders who are remunerated via the licensing their work.
Audiences today expect to watch or listen to content across devices (TV, radio, online). PSM have adapted to this demand by making their programmes available for live viewing, catch-up and on-demand, as well as through the traditional linear means on multiple platforms. Modern and easy rights’ clearance licensing mechanisms are crucial to enable audiences to benefit from cross-device programming in in the EU.
Territoriality and contractual freedom are key for the creative economy
Contractual flexibility must be maintained, as it enables rightsholders and users to negotiate how, when and where licensed content is offered, in order to best match consumer preferences. This flexibility hinges upon the possibility to exploit all types of works on a territorial basis and, as regards audiovisual programmes in particular, on an exclusive basis.
In practice, territoriality underpins the funding of European works and has a positive effect on the creative value chain and cultural diversity. By contrast, its abolition would have serious unintended consequences for audiences, limiting choice in terms of quantity and diversity. It would also tend to favour only the largest copyright users and intermediaries acting at a pan-European or global scale.
Preserve extended collective licensing systems
PSM broadcasters based in European countries which have established "extended collective licensing" (ECL) systems in their national copyright laws have in many cases been able to unlock their huge audio and audiovisual archives for viewers and listeners, or found it easier to launch new digital services.
Based on voluntary agreements between copyright users and rightholders’ representatives, such as collecting societies, the ECL system offers specific solutions for the most complex licensing cases, for example when certain rightsholders cannot be precisely identified (orphan works) or are extremely numerous.
EU legislation in the area of copyright and licensing should promote these valuables systems where they do not yet exist in the EU Member States.
Protect broadcasters' neighbouring rights worldwide
For many years, the EBU and other broadcasting unions worldwide have been advocating the need for urgent improvements to broadcasters' rights.
The need to provide broadcasters with substantial legal protection against broadcast piracy has drastically increased in the online world. The current level of protection is far from sufficient to combat modern-day piracy (above all via the internet) in an effective manner. For example, at the EU-level there is no protection of broadcasters' online signals. This harms the enormous investment that broadcasters undertake for their programming, including for major sports or cultural events, and for making that programming available to citizens in the most convenient and accessible ways.
This is the EBU response to a series of questions asked by the European Commission in a public consultation on the Article 17 guidelines of the EU's Copyright Directive.
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