The EBU regrets the results of today's Lead Legal (JURI) committee vote on the so-called SatCab Regulation which could have provided a future-proof and consumer-friendly framework for cross-border access to European content.
Over 20 years ago, the EU introduced new copyright licensing rules which made the Internal Market for satellite and cable TV a reality for European consumers. Today, Members of the European Parliament missed the opportunity to adapt licensing rules to the digital age and to bring European content closer to consumers across the EU.
"We deeply regret that the majority of the Members of the JURI committee did not support a futureproof and consumer-friendly licensing system giving access to more diverse European radio and audiovisual content across borders," said Nicola Frank, Head of European Affairs at the EBU.
Public service media organisations in the EU invest 17 billion euros in content every year - over 80% of it in original productions.
Without undermining the important principles of territoriality and contractual freedom, the original Commission proposal offered a good opportunity to enable European viewers and listeners to enjoy more of this content online and across borders, through the broadcasters’ own websites, or on authorized local third-party platforms.
Members of the JURI committee drastically reduced the scope of the “country of origin” principle to news and current affairs programmes. Regrettably, this will encourage consumers to resort to more illegal online content services. It will also provide the ground for making non-European players even stronger. This, in turn, will be detrimental to the European radio and audiovisual value chain.
Moreover, JURI Members voted against the creation of a level playing field between cable operators and operators providing equivalent programme retransmission services, completely missing the opportunity to set up a futureproof and resilient copyright licensing system.
Frank said: "We hope that this vote will not be the final response to the challenge of global competition in the audiovisual sector and that there will be further constructive negotiations between EU institutions."