State of play of legal provisions for IPRs

AuthorPanella, Lauro
EPRS | European Parli amentary Re search Servic e
2. State of play of legal provisions for IP Rs
The state of play of both EU and domestic legislation offering legal protection for sports events
highlights the existence of a patchwork of 'exclusiv ity' rights, spanning from a 'real esta te-based'
form of protection to copyright and neighbouring righ ts granted in fa vour of var ious entit ies (sports
federations , leagues, clubs, and t heir media licensees, such as broadcasters), by both EU and
dom estic la ws.
Indeed, in some Member States, special rig hts are granted to club s or leagues with r egard to
events, t ournaments and competitions, on the basis of sports codes, i.e. special laws o r acts
specifically devoted to the sports sector. In other Member States, domestic laws vest sports
organisers with a neighbour ing right to film and su bsequently broadcast the event.
An analysis of t his bundle of EU and do mestic laws (see A nnex I, Chapt er 2.1 2.8) leads to the
followin g con clusions : (i) sports event organisers already receive a suff icient l evel of
protection against unauthorised economic exploitation of their sports events ; (ii) however, an
effi cient fig ht against the specific phenomenon of online pir acy wo uld entail the granting
of harmonised EU IPRs, in the form of exclusive copy right or neighbourin g righ ts; (iii) while
copyright protection seems to pr otect creat ive filming of sports events adequately, the
neighbouring rights granted by various EU directives to producers and broadcasters of thi s fil ming
sho uld be expanded by the granting of a broad communication right, such as that g ran ted u nder
EU copyright law; (iv) while do mestic laws vesting s ports event organisers with neighbouring
rights pr ovide t his broad communication right, it only applies i n the terri tory of the relevant
Member S tate and, as such, is n ot fit to fig ht online piracy ; (v) Article 17 of Directive 2019/790/EU
plays only a very l imited rol e, in that it was not designed to comb at online piracy of sp or ts e vents.
2.1. Legal barr iers and limits
Table 1 summarises the gaps in and limit atio ns of the va rious lay ers of le gal pr otect ion a fforded by
the curren t legal pro visio ns system governing IPRs for rightsh old ers at bo th EU and nation al levels.
Table 1 – National substantive law: limits of legal protection for stakeholders
Entitlem ent Member States Subject Conte nt Limits
Property rights
(Hous e rights)
All Member
states analysed
The venue,
the facilities
The power to control
access to stadiums and
the related equipment
and to se t the rule s and
condition of access
attached to a dmission
ticke ts.
House rights m ay be
claime d solely agai nst
the holder of an
admission ticket and
may offer no
adequate protection
in cases of pi racy.
Exploitat ion
rights granted
over the event
France a nd
The sports
Granted in favour of
clubs or leagues, over
eve nts, tourname nts
and competitions, on
the basis of sports
codes, spe cial laws or
acts spec ifically draf ted
for the sports se ctor.
The right is provided
by a ve ry limited
number of Member
States, i t has an
uncertain l egal nature
and content.

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