European Commission Launches Public Consultation on Satellite and Cable Directive

As a part of the European Commission’s plans to modernise EU copyright rules as set out in the Digital Single Market strategy, the Commission is seeking public feedback on the Satellite and Cable Directive (Council Directive 93/83/EEC).

The Commission has stated [PDF] that the goals of the consultation are twofold:

  1. evaluate the Directive against the Better Regulation Guidelines and whether it has improved cross-border access to broadcasting services; and
  2. in the context of the Digital Single Market, and new consumer viewing patterns, assess the need to enlarge the scope of the Satellite and Cable Directive to also cover broadcasters’ online transmissions.

Notably, the consultation specifically raises the question of extending the “country of origin principle” to internet broadcasts, presumably with the aim of addressing the issue of geo-blocking within the EU whereby restrictions are placed on access to online content based on users’ geographic location. The “country of origin principle” under the Directive allows broadcasters to legally broadcast content to the whole EU once rights have been cleared in one Member State. The Commission is also expected to launch a specific consultation on geo-blocking in September 2015.

The deadline for responses is 16 November 2015.

Should you have any questions about this consultation, please contact Christian Ernhede (