×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Battle With E.U. Escalates Over Territorial Licensing in Europe

The entertainment industry’s battle with the European Commission over territorial licensing is turning into a drawn-out war that continues to be the talk of many on the Croisette. And it isn’t always clear who’s winning.

Just a few days before Cannes opened, a European Parliament committee voted largely to accept the commission’s proposal to let broadcasters buy rights to movies and TV for transmission throughout Europe on their catch-up and simulcast streaming services, as long as the broadcasters have cleared the rights in their home-base country.

The proposal was vigorously opposed by Hollywood and Europe’s entertainment sector, which depend on local licensing for the bulk of their international business. On May 2, more than 400 trade organizations, companies and European film and TV executives, including the MPAA, addressed an open letter to E.U. governments arguing against the proposal. They said it would decimate rights-holders’ ability to license content on a territory-by-territory basis, allowing consumers to watch films and TV shows on catch-up services before their first-run theatrical release or broadcast in their home countries.

Benoit Ginisty, chief representative of the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assns. (FIAPF), said some producers would feel pressured into agreeing to such pan-European licensing. “If you need your film to get made, and you need a deal with a broadcaster in your territory, a vast number of European producers would not be in a situation where [they] can say ‘no’ to a broadcaster” over pan-European rights, Ginisty said.

In the months ahead, at least two more European Parliament committees are expected to vote on the proposal. A final decision will be made by E.U. member states, some of which — such as France, Spain, and Italy — have pushed back against the proposal, siding with the entertainment industry. But it’s unclear whether their opposition will be enough.

The industry has already suffered a recent reverse. Last month, the European Parliament suggested that E.U. authorities should review the current exclusion of film and TV from an E.U. ban on “geo-blocking” — limiting online services to one country. That review could happen in about three years, said Charlotte Lund Thomsen, FIAPF’s legal counsel.

At Cannes, the European Film Agency Directors, a group composed of the heads of national films boards in 31 European countries, is expected to issue a statement on Monday. The body, which includes France’s CNC and the U.K.’s British Film Institute, will almost certainly express concern over the European Commission’s proposal and the suggested revisit of geo-blocking.

“The industry initially scored a victory last year when AV services were excluded from the commission’s geo-blocking proposal, and this was confirmed by the [E.U.’s] member states,” said Jean Prewitt, president & CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. “But we may have won the battle but not the war as the European Parliament has inserted us into the review clause.”

Film and TV remain under “continuous attack,” Prewitt said.

More Digital

  • Hooq Sets up Filmmakers Guild For

    Hooq Sets up Filmmakers Guild For Second Year of Pilots

    Asian video streaming platform, Hooq is to air five pilot episodes that have emerged from its Filmmakers Guild. The most successful is guaranteed to be produced as a full series and streamed on the platform. Five original selected screenplays were each awarded $30,000 to be made as pilots, which now air from March 1. The [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    Epic Pulls 'Fortnite' Ads From YouTube After Child Predator Controversy

    Epic Games is no longer running “Fortnite” pre-roll ads on YouTube after it was discovered they were playing on videos alleged predators used to exploit children, according to The Verge. The developer has paused all of its pre-roll advertising, which plays before a video starts on the streaming platform, a spokesperson said. It also reached [...]

  • New Video Shows Off Vive Cosmos

    New Video Shows Off Vive Cosmos VR Controllers

    There’s still much to be learned about HTC’s Vive Cosmos — like release date, specs, and price — but Wednesday the company released a short teaser video giving a slightly better glimpse of the controllers in action. The new controllers look a bit like rival VR headset Oculus Rift’s Touch controller, though reversed in some [...]

  • YouTube logo

    Disney Reportedly Pulls YouTube Ads Over Child-Exploitation Controversy

    YouTube is facing yet another big advertiser backlash, with Disney, Epic Games and McDonald’s among the marketers said to have pulled their ad spending after the Google-owned video platform was accused of facilitating what a critic described as a “soft-core pedophilia ring.” Vlogger Matt Watson, in a Feb. 17 video on his YouTube channel MattsWhatItIs, [...]

  • Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ Unveiled

    Samsung Announces Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+ Phones

    Samsung officially announced its new flagship phones, the Galaxy S10 and its larger sibling, Galaxy S10+, at its Unpacked press event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning. The new phone features a punch-hole cut-out for its front-facing camera, which allowed the company to use an edge-to-edge screen design without the notch found on the latest [...]

  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold Unveiled at Unpacked

    Samsung Announces Galaxy Fold, a $1,980 Foldable Phone

    Samsung officially announced its new foldable phone, dubbed the Galaxy Fold, at its Unpacked press event in San Francisco Wednesday morning. The device features two screens that unfold to a tablet-sized slate. “We are giving you a device that doesn’t just define a new category, it defies categories,” said Samsung senior vice president of product [...]

  • ABC-Oscar-Game

    ABC to Launch Oscars Live Play-Along Game With $50,000 Grand Prize

    ABC is hoping to drive viewers to its host-less telecast of the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday by dangling the promise of cold, hard cash to one lucky winner. The broadcaster is launching “The Official Oscar Game,” a live game that will let viewers play along in real time during the awards presentation. The game’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content