Executive summary

AuthorPanella, Lauro
Challe nges fac ing sports eve nt organisers in the digital environment
Executive summary
The m ain purpose of th is Eur opean added value assessment (EAVA) is to quantify the European
added value of an EU legislativ e initiativ e that addresses the challenges facing organis ers of
sports events in the digital environment, with particular attention to the phenomenon of on line
The study investig ates whether the current EU legal regime provides sports events organisers a nd
their licensees with an adequate level of pr otection against pir acy of online sports events, or, rather,
if higher standards of protection are needed. The main challenge posed for spo rts events is that, just
like all ot her for ms of 'prem ium' content, they have a highl y perishable n ature: t heir econ omic
value is substantially exhausted by the end of the event (and its live coverage). Hence, the
comm ercia l value of intellect ual pr operty ri ght s pr ote ct ion clo sely hinges o n a prompt and effective
enforcement system regulated by a har monised legislative framework at E U level.
The legal analysis underpinning this EAVA (s ee Annex I) ident ifies two main obs tacle s that ha mper
the a bility to tack le online p iracy . The firs t concern s th e legal provisions system governing
intellec tual property rights (IPRs). In particular, there are multip le, non-harmonised layers of
exclusiv e rights designed to pro tect sports events, but only a few can address the online piracy
issue specifically. The second m ain obst acle concerns t he obsolescence of the legal enforcement
measures stemming from national implementation of the Enf orcement Direct ive,1 the
e-Commerce Directive 2 and the InfoSoc Directive;3 these need to be updated in order to ta ckle
technol ogicall y advanced forms o f onli ne pi racy.
The stu dy presents a policy pro posal aimed at r emovin g both impediment s fr om the legal
framework governing IPRs.
When it comes to the legal provisions system for IPRs and the need fo r its harmo nisation, the f irst
possible solution (Option 1) wo uld be to provide an ad hoc EU neighbouring right in fav our of
sport s event organise rs as opposed to sport s events per se; the secondand mos t effective
solution (Option 2) wo uld be to provide for ' expansion' of the broadcast ers' neighbouring ri ght,
with the introduction of a full communi cation right in favour of both audiovisual producers and
broadcasters of sports events, coupled with the adoption of a 'standing to sue' in fav our of sports
organisers. These options fill the gap in the cur rent legal framework for IPRs in ter ms both of
substantive and remedial law, with d ifferent effects .
As rega rds the obsolescence of the current legal enf orcement system, a po ssible s olution would
be to implement a sy stem of fast, dy namic and live blocking or ders, harmonised at EU level through
the use o f 'dynamic bl ocking orders' and 'live injunctions'. Along with the latter, it is necessary to
adopt a leg al pro vision g ranting sports events organisers (and any ot her producers of 'p r e m ium'
content) the right to remove illicit content directlythrough technological means from any
stream ing server used by pirat es.
1 Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual
property rights.
2 Directive 2000/31/EC of the Euro pean Par liame nt and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information
society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ('Directive on electronic commerce').
3 Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain
aspects of copyright and rel ated ri ghts in the i nformation societ y.

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