European Parliament defuses SatCab regulation
The SatCab Regulation intends to facilitate cross-border access to television and radio broadcasts via digital distribution channels. One of its most controversial measures is the extension of the so-called country of origin principle to the online services of broadcasters. This means that broadcasters will only have to obtain rights for the member state of their main establishment to make their TV and radio programmes available online throughout the EU. Previously, the principle was only applicable to satellite transmissions.
In recent months, various representatives of authors' interests - such as film producers - have vehemently objected to an expansion of the country-of-origin principle. They see it as a problematic breach of the territorial principle – of the marketing of their rights on a country-by-country basis – which threatens their income and thus their existence.
The discussion was recently fuelled by the fact that Tiemo Wölken (S&D), the rapporteur responsible in the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market, has called for an even stronger extension of the country of origin principle. Up to now, the proposal for a regulation is only provided for the country-of-origin principle if online broadcasting is linked to conventional broadcasting - for example via satellite - and takes place simultaneously or only for a limited period after broadcasting. Tiemo Wölken's amendment proposed the removal of these restrictions.
In yesterday's vote by the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market, however, the rapporteur was unable to push through his proposals for amendments to this effect. In contrary, the expansion of the country of origin principle was limited to news and current affairs.
cep rejects the extension of the country of origin principle to online services of broadcasters, since it infringes the fundamental rights of entrepreneurial freedom and ownership. The extension of the country-of-origin principle should be limited to content with a public interest which is worthy of protection (see cepPolicyBrief). cep therefore welcomes the decision of the Committee on Legal Affairs not to extend the country-of-origin principle even further and to limit the extension to news and current affairs.