IRIS Plus 2012-4: Exclusive Rights and Short Reporting

Author: Peter Matzneller, Institute for European Media Law (EMR), Saarbr├╝cken/Brussels

Published: 01/06/2012

2012 is often called a year of sports as both the Euro 2012 football championships and the Olympic Games will be held. Of course, there will be or have been world championships in other sports, such as the biathlon, ski flying, figure skating, indoor athletics, table tennis, windsurfing, billiards, cycling, badminton, ice hockey, speedway, shooting, orienteering, rowing, baseball, canoeing, wrestling, the triathlon, jujutsu, karate, dancing and swimming. To these may be added world title fights or matches, for example in boxing or chess, numerous European championships in various sports and even more numerous national championships, ATP tournaments, Formula I racing, FIS ski racing, football Champions League matches, etc.

Sports competitions are an important part of our culture and entertainment scene, which is why they are also an important aspect of the entertainment industry, and increasingly so. There are, of course, other events that attract considerable public interest. According to official statistics, they have in the past included the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco, which probably aroused interest regardless of his bride's earlier successes as an Olympic swimmer. A papal visit, an open air concert or a televised debate between election candidates may, depending on the social context, become an event of high public interest, and the EU legislators and the Council of Europe have expressly determined that such an event must at least be made available to the public in the form of short extracts.

This basic idea may seem plain and simple but translating it into legal provisions and practical application appears difficult. The lead article makes this clear by explaining how the so-called right to short reporting affects the legal positions and business models of exclusive rights holders and how much scope the European provisions allow the various transposition models. Numerous national examples are provided to show the models that exist. The difficulties in transposing provisions often lie in the details. For example, the determination of when there is a high public interest in an individual case, which broadcaster must be approached to obtain access or in what form that access must be, or when, for what period and under what conditions access must be granted. More information on these questions is also contained in the Related Reporting section, which deals with the developments over the last few months that are relevant for the right to short reporting. Anyone wishing to obtain a quick overview of the legal situation in Europe will find assistance in the ZOOM section with its tabular summary of legal sources and normative content.