Call for live content piracy legislative action
September 8, 2022
By Colin Mann
Prominent MEPs, leaders of the media sector, anti-Piracy experts, legal experts and representatives of sports rights owners and live performances in Europe, have urged the European Commission to ensure its 2023 work programme would include a legislative proposal to address piracy of live content. This confirms and adds support to this much needed instrument already requested by numerous media CEOs in a letter addressed to Commissioner Thierry Breton in June 2022.
They say that all required elements are there for the Commission to pursue a specific legal instrument that builds on the European Parliament INL Report of 2021 on Challenges of sports events organisers in the digital environment and the Digital Services Act.
“The European Commission must propose legislation that would allow the sectors represented here today, and others, to be able to protect the value of the content produced, promoted and distributed – often content that benefits from European subsidies,” asserts MEP Geoffroy Didier, Member of the Legal Affairs Committee. “As investors in European creativity, it is only natural that Europe should protect its investments and fight those that drain our creative economies and reinvest these proceeds into other criminal channels. This is why a specific proposal to address piracy of live content, building on the DSA and other European legislation, is targeted, doable, legitimate and ultimately timely. A clear and immediate timeframe of response from online intermediaries is crucial in the case of live content.“
“I would like to thank the representatives of the European Parliament for their support and all colleagues that have demonstrated the importance and urgency of this issue,” stated Grégoire Polad, Director General, ACT (the Association of Commercial Television and Video on Demand Services in Europe). “European Commission has a very narrow window for action. We need a legislative proposal in the European Commission’s 2023 Work Programme. A recommendation will clearly not do. The ball is now in the court of the Commission to show it backs the live content sectors but also can propose legislation to support its own investments in the creative economy.”
“Live broadcasts of sports events are amongst the most pirated types of content worldwide, because the value of sport lies within the live experience,” noted Mark Lichtenhein, Chairman, SROC (Sports Rights Owners Coalition). “Piracy creates insurmountable losses for our sector, creates disproportionate costs in time and resources, and reduces investment back into the sports ecosystem. Sport promotes and instils values such as mutual respect and understanding, solidarity, equality, inclusiveness, diversity, fairness, cooperation, and civic engagement, while substantially contributing to educational and cultural values. All these are central to the European construct. However, we need effective legal remedies which address the unique nature of our product. We therefore call on the European Commission to propose legislation to specifically target the piracy of live content, in order to provide efficient solutions for sports rights owners and protect the wider European sports model.”
“For live online events, immediate take down is essential to protect new ways of dissemination and create new online business models,” asserted Silke Lalvani, Head of Public Affairs, Pearle (Performing Arts Employers Association League Europe). “Piracy jeopardises the economic value of a live show – and takes money out of the sector without any added value for the event organiser and the artists. Protecting cultural online live events from piracy means to create a secure environment for the entire value chain involved in live content creation. This is needed more than ever after the Covid-19 pandemic. The shift to a sustainable digital transformation allowing us to entertain and inspire online audiences at the best can only happen with sound legal protection in place. We encourage the European Commission to propose robust and future-proof legislation against piracy of online live content.”