The policy proposal

AuthorPanella, Lauro
EPRS | European Parli amentary Re search Servic e
4. The policy proposal
Given that gaps and barriers exist in both the IPRs pr ovisions system and in the legal enforcement
syst em, this chapter pr esents a possible solution in the form of a policy proposal co nsis ting of two
interventi on blocks. Indeed, is not poss ible to change a legal inst rument to enforce a specific righ t
if the latter is not grounded on a princip le of law a cknowled ged by the legal sys tem.
1 Policy options to harmonise the IPRs provisions system (see Annex I, Chapter 2.9)
The study underpinning this EAVA presents two alternative policy options th at cou ld resolve the
ident ified pr oblem b y har monis ing the legal fra mework for IPRs.
The first possible solution (Option 1) would be that of providing a new neighbourin g right over
sports events per se; a solution a lready envisaged, on a dom estic level.
Such a new right may in turn be useful whenever a spectator takes live coverage dir ectly fr o m w ith in
the venue o f an event and uploads it onto the internet. This is h owever quit e rare.12
Rather, such an ad hoc right has been envisaged to allow sports event organisers to b enefit from
harmonised copyright protection throughout the EU and to be able to lodge cases themselves
again st p irat e entit ies in a ll Member Sta tes. Such a righ t wou ld a lso allo w spo rts even ts o rganisers
to seek injunctions t o block websites or streaming servers in all Member Sta tes without having to
rely on th eir licensed broadcas ters as is currently the ca se.13
However, most importantly, upon inv estig ation the rationale for this new neighbouring rig ht d oes
not appear to be t hat of fil ling a gap in the legal pro tection of professi onal sports events
organisers agai nst onl ine piracy, as might be expected.
As highlighted above, the neighbouring right pr otection o ffered by EU law t o audiovis ual prod ucers
and broadcasters does not appear to be fit for purpose when it comes to figh ting on line piracy;
neither on e of these two en tities is indeed prov ided wit h full com mun icatio n to the public r ight.
The second possible policy solution (Option 2), involves the introduction of a ri g ht of
communication to the publ ic to be granted to the producers of f irst fi xations of audiovis ual
work s (such as sports events organisers undertaking the effor t of filming their events to license the
digital live feed to their broadcasting licensees). A harmonised EU neighbouring righ t of t hi s k ind
would seem ingly r ender it ea sier t o un dertak e the mu ltijuris dictional jud icial activ ities necess ary to
tack le onlin e pira cy.
By the same to ken, the 'expansi on' of the bro adcasters' neighbouring right with the introduction
of a f ull communication right, wh ile certainly 'count erba lancing' the abovementioned
strengthening of the sports event or gan ise r's r ights, wou ld also e xtend th e possib ility to fig ht o nline
piracy on a su pra-nat ional bas is.
12 When i t comes to short footage taken from within the stadium by fans, that appears to be of little economic relevance
and may not ne cessarily be opposed by sports organisers in the ir att empt to enhance the atmosphe re and
attractiveness of the event.
13 See, inter alia, Sportbu , The new EU Copyri ght Dir ecti ve leaves spo rts ri ghts holder s dissatisfi ed, interview
with Mark Lichte nhein, Chair man of t he Sports Right s Owners Coalition..

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