EU Parliament rejects digital content Single Market

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The European Parliament has confirmed by 365 to 256 that the ability of users to access all their media across Europe will be restricted to news and current affairs – effectively upholding geoblocking on most content and flying in the face of the Commission’s Digital Single Market proposals.

The EC’s SatCab proposals had been designed to bring DTH and cable regulations on cross border content into line with those defined for online under DSM; i.e. they could receive anywhere in the EU services they had paid for in their country of origin. However, after furious lobbying by content producers and commercial broadcasters, the Parliament had decided not to endorse the Commission’s recommended end to geoblocking for wither online or SatCab services beyond news and current affairs. The decision will now go to the European Council once each member state has decided their position.

The Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT) has welcomed the result of the December 12th vote in on the mandate to open discussions with the Council on the proposed Broadcasters (“SatCab”) Regulation. Commercial broadcasters and much of the content sector argue that wide application of the copyright rule risks reducing investment in film, sport and drama in the EU and resulting in less content being produced.

Agnieszka Horak, ACT’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, said: “The European Parliament vote offers EU citizens a future full of quality TV.  It is a vote in support of the amount, quality and diversity of TV and movies available to viewers. “On behalf of ACT, I would like to thank all the Members of the European Parliament who voted for this step towards better legislation. We urge the Member States in COREPER to follow the direction of travel set by the Parliament, and limit the scope of the country-of-origin exception so that viewers can continue to be entertained and informed by a wide range of high quality TV programming.”

Meanwhile Nicola Frank, the EBU Head of European Affairs, said: “The SatCab regulation was originally devised to enhance the circulation of content in Europe and enable both consumers and Europe’s audiovisual sector to reap the benefits of the DSM. [This vote] goes against these intentions, maintaining a fragmented European audiovisual market and turning down enhanced access to European culture for citizens.”


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