In a coordinated move with PM Boris Johnson’s statement on the state of Brexit negotiations on his ‘deal deadline’, DCMS has issued a clarification of where British broadcasters and VoD services will stand on January 1st 2021. As is traditional with Brexit, the deadline has now been moved.
DCMS says the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the country of origin principle will no longer apply to services under UK jurisdiction broadcast into the EU. However, the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT) framework will still apply.
This means that the 20 EU countries that have signed up to ECTT must allow freedom of reception to services under UK jurisdiction. How this right is given effect in each country may depend on national law and how the ECTT has been implemented locally. The UK must also permit freedom of reception for services that originate from all countries that are party to the ECTT.
The EU’s ‘Notice to Stakeholders’ for audiovisual media services has confirmed that works originating in the UK will continue to be classed as European Works from January 1st 2021.
There are 2 types of services coming to the UK from the EU. They are: services from countries that have signed and ratified the ECTT – no action is needed for these services.
Services that are from countries that have not signed and ratified the ECTT will need a licence from Ofcom to continue to be received in the UK. Alternatively, the broadcaster could change the way it operates so it falls within the jurisdiction of another ECTT country.
The UK is committed to continued licence-free reception for TG4, RTÉ1 and RTÉ2 to reflect the commitments in the Good Friday agreement.
The ECTT does not have the same enforcement mechanisms as the AVMSD. There is a standing committee to resolve disputes, but this has not met since 2010. Article 26 of the ECTT also has provision for arbitration between ECTT parties.
The ECTT does not provide for freedom of reception for video on-demand services. This means you need to comply with AVMSD jurisdiction rules. The regulation and authorisation of video on-demand service is determined locally. Seek local legal advice on the status of your service.
For more information and to try and check if your license is valid for EU countries (from the UK) or in the UK (from EU countries) go to DCMS.