Question: What do the Euro 2012 football tournament, ABBA and
Queen Elizabeth II have in common?
Just ahead of the Euro 2012 and the Olympic Games, the European Audiovisual Observatory has just released its latest IRIS plus report entitled:
Exclusive rights and short reporting
Author Peter Matzneller of the Saarbrücken-based Institute for European Media Law (EMR), opens his lead article by underlining the increased revenues from the grant of transmission rights by organisations such as the FIFA. Indeed, the sale of World Cup transmission rights generated 84 million EUR in 1998, a figure which rose to 1.79 billion EUR in 2010.
Moving on to look at barriers to exclusive rights in EU law, the author explains that EU legislation prevents the sale of exclusive transmission rights for this type of content on three levels. Firstly, basic EU competition law forbids the granting of an entire package of rights to only one provider. Secondly, the principle of the free movement of services (Articles 56 ff. TFEU) can lead to restrictions on granting exclusive territorial licences. And lastly, the revision of the AVMSD in 2007 obliges member states to ensure that for the purpose of short news reports any television broadcaster has access to events of high interest to the public that are transmitted on an exclusive basis.
Matzneller then goes on to examine the provisions of European law relating to the right to short reporting. He explains that the right to short reporting is enshrined in the law of the Council of Europe, to be more precise in the European Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT), and in the law of the European Union, namely the AVMSD. He then provides a useful summary of the main provisions of both legal instruments before looking at the transposition and application of the provisions of European law in European states. This detailed, country by country analysis takes in parameters such as the definition of an “event” which is “of high public interest” (and therefore concerned by the right to short reporting), questions of cross-border access, what constitutes a “short extract” or indeed a “general news programme” during which they may be broadcast.
The author concludes that “in the great majority of the countries studied, no significant problems or disputes are detectable regarding the practical application of the right to short reporting, which leads to the conclusion that there is trouble-free co-operation between licensees and broadcasters reporting on events.” However, Matzneller notes an increasing tendency of broadcasters to favour the short reporting of events for which they hold the exclusive rights and concludes that “this practice may essentially be due to competition interests: on the one hand, they create a desire in their own audience to view their “own” sport and, on the other hand, they avoid arousing any interest in a sports event broadcast by a competitor.”
The related reporting section of this new report covers the transposition of the AVMSD into the legislation of countries such as Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the UK territory of Gibraltar. This chapter also reports on detail on the adoption of short reporting legislation in France, Belgium, Austria and Italy.
The final Zoom section provides an invaluable table of references to the relevant national legal text concerning short reporting of events deemed to be of high public interest in 36 countries as well as an overview table of the provisions contained in each national text.
Just before the summer of sport is upon us – what do we actually have the right to watch on television? And who says so? And why…?
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