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European Commission investigates Pay-TV film agreements

The European Commission has announced that it is conducting an investigation into licensing agreements between major film studios and Pay-TV broadcasters.  The Commission will in particular investigate whether the licensing conditions prevent broadcasters from providing their services across European borders, for example by refusing potential subscribers from other Member States or blocking cross-border access to their services.


European Court: Hyperlink to another website does not infringe EU copyright law if it does not override restrictions on access

The European Court of Justice has ruled that clickable hyperlinks to a protected work on another website does not infringe EU copyright law so long as all internet users have free access to the work. By contrast, any clickable links which circumvent restrictions on access will infringe EU copyright law by enabling a new public to access protected works.  While paywalls fall clearly within the scope of this limitation, websites that limit access to subscribers may also be protected even if there is no payment involved.


L’Equipe highlights Benoît Keane’s intervention at conference on media coverage of women’s sports

On 28 November, Benoît Keane participated in a major conference in Paris on media coverage of women’s sports hosted by Sport & Citizenship.  The keynote speaker, French Minister for Sport, Valerie Fourneyron, announced at the conference a new EUR 1 million fund to support the broadcasting of women’s sports.

Benoît Keane participated in a panel of sports, broadcasting and legal experts to discuss how media coverage of women’s sports could be improved.  Fellow panelist Christine Kelly, head of sport at the Conseil Superieur d’Audiovisuel called for French channels to dedicate 1 February to women’s sports.  The Director General of Eurosport, Arnaud Simon, highlighted the efforts being made by Eurosport to increase coverage of women’s sports.


New Communication on State aid for Film and Audiovisual works

The European Commission has reformed its approach to the provision of State aid to the cinema and audiovisual sector.

Extending the scope of its 2001 communication, the Commission now includes all stages of the production and marketing of cinematic and audiovisual works for potential aid schemes.


Benoît Keane speaks at UnitedCity sports law conference


On 19 November, Benoît Keane spoke at the UnitedCity sports law conference hosted at Manchester United’s iconic Old Trafford stadium.

Addressing the topic of EU law and media rights, Benoît presented an overview of the major legal developments in 2013 in particular the European Court of Justice’s rulings in the Listed events, Sky Austria and TVCatchup cases.

Drawing from these cases, Benoît highlighted the importance now for sports rights-holders to advocate how rights are crucial to the sustainable financing of grass roots and professional sports.

Sports rights to major events make the world stop – whether it is for the 9.63 seconds it took Usain Bolt to win the 100m or the 93 minutes it took Spain to win the EURO.  But we have to remind national and EU legislators that these rights also make the world run.”

The speech was followed by a lively debate with members of the audience representing sports and media organisations.



European Parliament urges action against corruption in sport

On 23 October, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on organised crime, corruption and money laundering which includes a call for the EU to tackle corruption in sport.


Advertising rules can differ for Pay-TV and Free-to-air Broadcasters – Sky Italia judgment


The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that free-to-air television broadcasters can benefit from more beneficial advertising laws than pay-TV broadcasters.  As a result, Sky Italia has lost its bid to overturn an Italian law which granted free-to-air broadcasters more generous advertising time than pay-TV broadcasters in Italy.


European Commission proposes new damages regime for victims of anti-competitive conduct

The European Commission has published its long-awaited proposal on facilitating victims of anti-competitive conduct in bringing claims for damages.  The draft EU Directive envisages harmonised court procedural rules on the disclosure of documents, limitation rules for action and common standards for defences.  The Commission also published a Recommendation to EU Member States on how to encourage collective actions and a Practical Guide to national courts on the calculation of damages.  The European Parliament and EU Member States will now scrutinise the draft Directive in the next stages of the legislative procedure.


European Court: Football clubs responsible for homophobic remarks of associates – Accept judgment

The European Court of Justice has ruled that a football club is responsible for the homophobic remarks made by a person closely associated with the club – even if that person does not have legal power to bind the club as regards its recruitment policy.  To avoid sanctions, the football club should clearly distance itself from the homophobic remarks.  The finding appears to be equally applicable to other discriminatory conduct such as racism and underlines the importance of recent efforts by sports organisations to clamp down on such conduct.


Benoît Keane speaks at Irish Society for European Law

Benoît Keane participated in a panel discussion organised by the Irish Society for European Law (ISEL) in Dublin on the application of EU competition law to sport.  The panel also included Krzysztof Kuik (Head of Unit at the European Commission) and Ian Lynam (Partner at Charles Russell).  The event was chaired by Gary Rice (Partner at Beauchamps).

The event took place under Chatham House rules which led to an open and interesting discussion amongst the panellists and participants.  A range of issues were discussed during the event in particular the application of EU competition law to financial fair play regulations and to sports media rights following from the Murphy ruling.


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