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Lobby groups attack EU online rights proposal

December 7, 2017

By Colin Mann

Representatives of European public service media and consumers have urged the European Parliament to reject the Proposal for a Regulation on Online Broadcasting during the plenary vote scheduled for December 12th, suggesting that they want to bring European audiovisual content closer to consumers in the EU.

The European Broadcasting Organisation (EBU) and the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC [European Consumer Organisation]) have written to Members of the European Parliament in advance of the December 12th vote on the mandate to enter inter-institutional negotiations on the Proposal for a Regulation on Online Broadcasting (‘SatCab’), saying that they are “deeply disappointed” with the report adopted by the Legal Affairs (JURI) committee on 21st November. “MEPs of the JURI committee missed an opportunity to modernise licensing rules and bring European audiovisual content closer to consumers across the EU,” they say. “Under modernised rules, rights holders would continue to receive appropriate remuneration. The aim of this legislative initiative was to introduce a future-proof and consumer-friendly framework that would boost cross-border access to European content,” they note.

“The report adopted by the JURI committee, however, would render the proposal meaningless and would even be detrimental to the existing licensing system, in particular, because the Committee rejected the proposal to extend the retransmission scheme to new closed platforms and to broadcasters’ own on-demand services and took the decision to reduce the application of Article 2 to ‘news and current affairs programmes’” they argue.

“In its current form, the report will neither support the establishment of a forward-looking environment for the clearance of rights for broadcasters’ content online or on third-party platforms, nor does it meet European consumers’ needs and expectations to access more cross-border audiovisual content,” they contend.

“We therefore call on the European Parliament to reject the mandate for trilogue negotiations. Instead, we would like MEPs to further discuss this important proposal in order to find a positive compromise for the benefit of all Europeans,” they conclude.

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