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Publication

Country of Origin Principle

Tim Johnson
03/08/2015

Locations

Japan, United Kingdom

The Digital Single Market Communication published on 6 May 2015 advocated for a review in 2015 or 2016 of the Cable and Satellite Directive 1993 (Council Directive 93/83/EC).

Further to the Commission's strategy to streamline the copyright regime throughout Europe, the Digital Single Market Communication published on 6 May 2015 advocated for a review in 2015 or 2016 of the Cable and Satellite Directive 1993 (Council Directive 93/83/EC) to "assess the need to enlarge its scope to broadcasters' online transmissions and the need to tackle further measures to ensure enhanced cross-border access to broadcasters' services in Europe."

It is currently emphasised in paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the Directive that providers of satellite services will be bound only by the laws of that Member State in which they communicate their service, not the Member States in which their signal is received. In other words, satellite broadcasts only require copyright consents in their Country of Origin.

The question therefore remains as to whether the Country of Origin principle in relation to satellite broadcasts should also be extended into online transmissions. Currently, online transmissions are considered as being "made available" in a number of Member States in which they are received.

The EU Commission's main argument in favour of a Country of Origin principle for online transmissions is that it would further harmonise the copyright regime throughout Europe. Other commentators have suggested that it would also make clearances for rights less complicated. By contrast, others are concerned that it could lead to Members States competing to offer the most lenient levels of copyright protection to attract service providers.

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