Proposal for regulation on the exercise of copyright and related rights for online transmissions of broadcasting in EU – what it’s all about

The ancillary online services covered by this Regulation are those services offered by broadcasting organisations which have a clear and subordinate relationship to the broadcast. They include services giving access to television and radio programmes in a linear manner simultaneously to the broadcast and services giving access, within a defined time period after the broadcast, to television and radio programmes which have been previously broadcast by the broadcasting organisation (so-called catch-up services).

In addition, ancillary online services include services which give access to material which enriches or otherwise expands television and radio programmes broadcast by the broadcasting organisation, including by way of previewing, extending, supplementing or reviewing the relevant programme’s content.

The provision of access to individual works or other protected subject matter that have been incorporated in a television or radio programme should not be regarded as an ancillary online service. Similarly, the provision of access to works or other protected subject matter independently of broadcast, such as services giving access to individual musical or audio-visual works, music albums or videos, do not fall under the definition of ancillary online service.

It is necessary to provide for the establishment of the country of origin principle as regards the exercise of copyright and related rights relevant for acts occurring in the course of the provision of, the access to or the use of an ancillary online service. That principle of country of origin should apply exclusively to the relationship between right holders (or entities representing right holders such as collective management organisations) and broadcasting organisations and solely for the purpose of the provision of, the access to or the use of an ancillary online service. The principle of country of origin should not apply to any subsequent communication to the public or reproduction of content which is protected by copyright or related rights and which is contained in the ancillary online service.

Since the provision of, the access to or the use of an ancillary online service is deemed to occur solely in the Member State in which the broadcasting organisation has its principal establishment, while de facto the ancillary online service can be provided across borders to other Member States, it is necessary to ensure that in arriving at the amount of the payment to be made for the rights in question, the parties should take into account all aspects of the ancillary online service such as the features of the service, the audience, including the audience in the Member State in which the broadcasting organisation has its principal establishment and in other Member States in which the ancillary online service is accessed and used, and the language version.

Through the principle of contractual freedom it will be possible to continue limiting the exploitation of the rights affected by the principle of country of origin laid down in this Regulation, especially as far as certain technical means of transmission or certain language versions are concerned, provided that any such limitations of the exploitation of those rights are in compliance with Union law.

Operators of retransmission services offered on satellite, digital terrestrial, closed circuit IP-based, mobile and similar networks, provide services which are equivalent to those provided by operators of cable retransmission services when they retransmit simultaneously, in an unaltered and unabridged manner, for reception by the public, an initial transmission from another Member State of television or radio programmes, where this initial transmission is by wire or over the air, including by satellite but excluding online transmissions, and intended for reception by the public. They should therefore be within the scope of this Regulation and benefit from the mechanism introducing mandatory collective management of rights. Retransmission services which are offered on the open internet should be excluded from the scope of this Regulation as those services have different characteristics. They are not linked to any particular infrastructure and their ability to ensure a controlled environment is limited when compared for example to cable or closed circuit IP-based networks.

Any rights held by broadcasting organisations themselves in respect of their broadcasts, including rights in the content of the programmes, should be exempted from the mandatory collective management of rights applicable for retransmissions. Operators of retransmission services and broadcasting organisations generally have ongoing commercial relations and as a result the identity of broadcasting organisations is known to operators of retransmission services and hence the clearance of rights with broadcasting organisations is comparatively simple.

Thus, to obtain the necessary licences from broadcasting organisations, operators of retransmission services do not face the same burden as they face to obtain licences from holders of rights in works and other protected subject matter included in the retransmitted television and radio programmes. Therefore, there is no need for the simplification of the licensing process with regard to rights held by broadcasting organisations.

In order to prevent circumvention of the application of the country of origin principle through the extension of the duration of existing agreements concerning the exercise of copyright and related rights relevant for the provision of an ancillary online service as well as the access to or the use of an ancillary online service, it is necessary to apply the principle of country of origin also to existing agreements but with a transitional period.

In accordance with the principle of proportionality, this Regulation (official document) does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve its objective. As concerns the cross-border provision of ancillary online services, this Regulation establishes enabling mechanisms to facilitate the clearance of copyright and related rights. This Regulation does not oblige broadcasting organisations to provide such services across borders. Neither does this Regulation oblige operators of retransmission services to include in their services television or radio programmes originating in other Member States. This Regulation concerns only the exercise of certain retransmission rights to the extent necessary to simplify the licensing of copyright and related rights for such services and only with regard to television and radio programmes originating in other Member States of the Union.