Europe bottles it over pan-European content plans

MEPs in the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee has approved a watered down version of its pan-European TV ambitions in what some might assume is a result of lobbyist pressure.

Back in May, Europe made some strides towards creating a pan-European TV market, attempting to reform the IP process which would allow OTT service subscribers to access their subscriptions when abroad. It was an unusually logical move from the usually illogical bureaucrats, but it appears it is nothing that special after all.

“The chance to create a European audience was missed,” said German MEP Tiemo Wölken. “Conservative forces put the interests of Big Players over the interests of millions of European citizens in an irrational, unbalanced way. Under the pretext of cultural diversity European Broadcasters are refrained from adapting to the digital age.”

Under the new rules broadcasters will be able to make online news and current affairs content for audiences in other EU countries. These programmes may include content protected by copyright which currently cannot be cleared in a short time-frame for each and every country.

It is a step forward, but certainly not as big of one which many in the industry were hoping for. In terms of any form of entertainment, movies or TV series for example, this content would be subject to the rules as they stand, with broadcasters having to clear in each territory. The power remains in the hands of the content-owners, and the rules remain in the analogue age.

As you can imagine, numerous explanations were offered as reason for the new rules falling short, IP law is immensely complicated and reforming any rules which take into account 28 member states would also be immensely complicated, but some might assume this is not the reason. Some might come to the conclusion rule-makers have had their ears bent in all sorts of directions by lobbyists, and they went the direction of the one which pulled the hardest. Of course, this is only assumption, and any evidence of the power of lobbyists is only rumour.

The parliamentary committee could not come to an agreement on the rules for all content, thus only news and current affairs will be opened up. Some other people might also argue that news and current affairs content is already available in other countries, therefore MEPs have done little but talk over the last couple of months. will naturally keep its opinions to itself to allow you to make up your own mind, but we will be in touch with our MEP to seek a recommendation for lunch tomorrow.

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