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Copyright and intellectual property

Aiming at the best intellectual property environment for the audiovisual sector

Public service media invests €20 billion a year in original European content. They are both copyright holders and copyright users. In the EU, there are many initiatives that impact on intellectual property, especially copyright. Specific areas where copyright is up for debate are: 

  • Copyright and AI – how to address the use by generative AI systems of (public service) media content 
  • WIPO – the negotiation of an international treaty to combat piracy worldwide
  • Contractual freedom and territorial licensing - ensuring that public service media continue to create quality content that is original and diverse

The EBU aims to achieve an EU copyright framework that enables public service media to fulfil their mandate: to inform, educate and entertain every citizen. For public service media to thrive, there must be an environment with broad distribution and access to content, while protecting artistic creators. 

Maintaining contractual flexibility allows rightsholders and rights users to negotiate how, when, and where licensed content is offered, to best match consumer preferences. This flexibility depends on the possibility to exploit audiovisual works on a territorial and exclusive basis. Territoriality emphasises the funding of European works. Removing it would limit audience choice and favour the largest players. 




Copyright Handbook

With its new Copyright Handbook, the EBU provides its Members with a reference tool addressing the main copyright issues faced by broadcasters. This Handbook is complementary to the EBU Copyright Guide, providing an overview of all relevant topics and illustrative case law as well as legal references to enhance the understanding of copyright matters in broadcasting. Non-Members are invited to contact the EBU Legal Secretariat for information on how to obtain a copy.

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EBU Copyright Guide

The EBU Legal Department has published a practical toolkit for editors and programme makers working for public service broadcasters, with the aim of increasing awareness of all the rights and obligations under copyright law to be taken into account when creating, selecting and using protected material.

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Legal & Policy Focus — Broadcasters' Rights: Towards a new WIPO treaty

The aim of this Legal and Policy Focus is to further the understanding, in particular among legal practitioners of broadcasting organisations and other lawyers dealing with copyright issues, of the “neighbouring” (or “related”) right that broadcasting organisations enjoy under copyright laws in Europe. Simply defined, broadcasters’ neighbouring rights protect the signals transmitted by broadcasters that carry programme content for reception by the public. A main impetus for providing this overview is the current debate at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva for a new international treaty granting modern, or at least updated,...

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