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Sports Broadcasts Are Not Protected By Copyright

Sports Broadcasts Are Not Protected By Copyright

The broadcast rights distributor has failed. The English Football Association Premier League (FAPL) wanted to confirm in court its rights to restrict the use of TV broadcasts from the Premier League. Instead, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has stated that “The FAPL must not invoke the copyright of Premier League matches because sports meetings cannot be considered as the author’s own intellectual creation and consequently as” works “within the meaning of EU copyright law.”

A league against pub owners

The FAPL grants broadcasters in an open tender procedure the exclusive right to 스포츠중계 live Premier League matches on a territorial basis. As the territorial basis normally corresponds to one Member State, viewers can only watch matches broadcast by broadcasters established in the Member State in which they reside.
In order to gain access to Premier League matches, some eateries in the UK have started using foreign decoder cards provided by a Greek broadcaster to subscribers residing in Greece. These premises purchase cards and a decoder from a distributor at prices more favorable than those applicable in the British Isles.
In its judgment, the Court found that national legislation prohibiting the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards is contrary to the freedom to provide services and cannot be justified either in the light of the purpose of protecting intellectual property rights or promoting the presence of the public at football stadiums.

Protected works

The Court stressed that only the opening video sequence, the Premier League anthem, pre-recorded films showing the most significant moments of recent Premier League matches, and certain graphics can be considered ‘works’ and are protected by copyright. However, the meetings themselves are not works benefiting from such protection. Accordingly, the Court ruled that the broadcasting of programs containing protected works such as the opening video sequence or the Premier League anthem in a gastronomic establishment constitutes communication to the public within the meaning of the Copyright Directive, for which the author’s authorization is required.

A ball for everyone

Earlier this year, the Tribunal strengthened the rights of fans. According to the ECJ ruling in February, the final rounds of the World Cup and the European Championship are too important for Europeans to be broadcast only through pay-per-view broadcasts. Member States may therefore prohibit the sale of exclusive pay-TV broadcasting rights.

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