European broadcasters welcome AV action plan
October 20, 2021
By Colin Mann
European broadcaster trade bodies have welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of its report on Europe’s Media in the Digital Decade: An Action Plan to Support Recovery and Transformation. In so doing, they express their congratulations to MEP and rapporteur Dace Melbārde.
The Report recognises the important role that the media and audiovisual sectors play by providing news and entertainment to millions of Europeans. “Supporting recovery for our sectors will require a holistic industrial strategy that the sector has long asked for,” they say. “We therefore warmly welcome the European Parliament’s call for a holistic strategy exploring ‘all options available, including tax incentives, trade policy and enhanced accountability and rules for online platforms to establish a regulatory level playing field allowing media to continue to invest in news and cultural content while protecting European consumers equally online and offline’. We urge the European Commission to take note of this call and develop such a strategy,” they state.
“We take note of the clear call for the fundamentals of the audiovisual model to be upheld,” the continue. “In line with the Commission’s finding in the first review of the Regulation on unjustified geo-blocking and several studies; territoriality and exclusivity are indeed a cornerstone of the audiovisual sector and are essential to its efficient functioning. With clear directions emanating from both the European Parliament and the Council of the EU; we draw attention to the implications of this for forthcoming dialogues as regards Action 7 of Commission’s Action Plan. In line with the Report, we look forward to proposals by the Commission to support co-production, translation, subtitling and dubbing which could contribute to the ever increasing availability of diverse European audiovisual content,” they add.
The Report also notes the vast disruptive impact on the media sector of global online platforms and underlines the need for a level playing field establishing a fair environment through rules on access to and transparency of data, platform and algorithmic accountability and advertising rules. It also recognises the need for ambitious, clear and legally binding measures to fight online piracy (particularly live events piracy), and to efficiently tackle all forms of circumvention, through new practical tools such as the use of dynamic injunctions, prompt take-downs upon notification, and clarifications of the legal regime applicable to services posting hyperlinks to websites on which copyright-protected works have been made available without the consent of the right holders.
According to the broadcasters, this confirms the Parliament’s clear message to the European Commission to act decisively and swiftly on the topic of piracy so as to demonstrate it is committed to delivering tangible instruments to address this ever growing cancer of creation which undermines investment in content in Europe, whether it be from public or private sources. “These elements, as well as calls related to taxation, sustainability, competition and media convergence, are all very welcome,” they note.
“We would, however, caution against calls for interventionist measures that would undermine contractual freedom, legal certainty and investments in the sector by banning buy-out contracts,” they advise. “This is a matter that was addressed in the copyright in the DSM directive and should not be re-opened so as to ensure legal certainty for long term (re)investments,” they suggest.
“Finally, we thank MEPs for rejecting far-reaching proposals that would be a terrible impediment to the sector, namely by changing the definition of European Works and/or applying extended collective licensing to our sector,” they conclude.
ACT – Association of Commercial Television & Video on Demand Services in Europe
ABBRO – Association of Bulgarian Broadcasters
AKTV – Asociace Komerčních Televizí
ARCA – Romanian Association for Audiovisual Communications
CONECTA – Consejo Especialista en Canales Temáticos Asociados
EGTA – European Association of Television and Radio Sales Houses
LRA – Latvijas Raidorganizāciju Asociācija
UTECA – Unión Televisiones Comerciales en Abierto
VAUNET – German Media Association