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IP Osgoode Conference: Learning from Europe

Along with CLaw Executive member Michelle Doody, I attended the IP Osgoode Conference in Ottawa last Friday, ”Can Canada Learn Anything From Europe? European Perspectives on Copyright Law in the Information Era”. Leading academics, government policy makers, industry specialists and lawyers came together to discuss the ways in which European copyright law functions in the digital realm, and how Canadian stakeholders can develop a better system based on the lessons from the European experience.

We recommend watching the webcast at the IP Osgoode website, particularly for Sessions Three and Four; Ted Shapiro, Senior VP, General Counsel and Deputy Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association in Europe spoke at both and shared ideas on film copyright infringement.

European Ruling Challenges Exclusivity Deals For Sports, TV and Film

The European Court of Justice has ruled that national exclusivity agreements for sports, film and TV show broadcasts may be in violation EU rules. The decision calls into question the legality of a business model essential to producers and broadcasters where rights are sold on a territory-by-territory basis.

The case involved a UK pub owner who used a decoder box to access Greek broadcasts of Premier League soccer games. The Court held that licensing schemes that prevent competition from other EU states contravene common market principles. In the UK, exclusive rights to the Premier League are held by BSkyB.

The ECJ said that premium paid by TV networks to ensure absolute territorial exclusivity “goes beyond what is necessary to ensure the right holders appropriate remuneration….Such a practice may result in artificial price differences between the partitioned national markets.”