Monday, June 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ATVOD: over-paid, over-regulating over here?

The ATVOD funding scandal rumbles on, with the Periodical Publishers Association stating: "essentially digital businesses are being unfairly penalised because Ofcom designated ATVOD as the co‐regulator when, it seems, it may have been better for Ofcom to administer the content rules derived from the Directive (and implemented into the Act)."

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sun TV and other newspaper websites held to be TV-like services

Ofcom is expected shortly to hear an appeal by News Corp. newspaper websites which have been classified as TV-like services and hence subject to co-regulator ATVOD. ATVOD reasoning is as follows:

ATVOD has concluded that the Service is an ODPS. This is because the Service fulfils each of the relevant criteria set out in section 368A(1) of the [Communications] Act as follows: (a)        its principal purpose is the provision of programmes the form and content of which are comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services; A single website or domain may contain more than one service, and Sun Video section does appear to ATVOD to constitute a service in its own right, albeit a service which sits alongside an electronic version of a newspaper. The video content is aggregated on a discrete section of the website providing a catalogue of viewing options. Whilst the videos may in some cases have a specific connection to content in the newspaper, the viewer is not invited to consider the content as subsidiary or ancillary to the online version of the print newspaper. Sun Video is presented as a consumer destination in its own right, and the programmes provided within Sun Video service can be viewed, enjoyed and made sense of without reference to the newspaper offering. The programmes themselves are comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services, ATVOD considers that the principal purpose of ‘Sun Video is to provide these TV-like programmes. As noted above, a thematic or topical connection to the (online or offline) newspaper offering is not sufficient to make the video service  an integral and ancillary part of the online version of the magazine, given the presentation of the service as a video on demand service in its own right.  It is ATVOD’s view that where a video does have a related text article, the programmes can and do make sense without reference to that article (for example ‘Exclusive Jay Kay Chat’).  There are also a significant number of programmes which do not link to a related text article at all (eg. ‘2001: A Babe Odyssey’).
 (b)       access to it is on-demand; Sun Video can be watched at a time of the viewer’s choosing.
(c)        there is a person who has editorial responsibility for it; The programmes on Sun Video have been selected and organised into a coherent catalogue of viewing options with a distinct editorial proposition.
(d)        it is made available by that person for use by members of the public; and Sun Video is made available on the open internet. Anyone with access to the internet can view the programmes on Sun Video.
(e)        that person is under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom for the purposes of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The registered office of the provider of the service, News Group Newspapers Ltd, is: 3 Thomas More Square, E98 1XY
 In coming to this determination, ATVOD has taken note of Recital 21 of the Directive, which is not binding, and has concluded that Sun Video is a service in its own right which is distinct from the online version of the newspaper and which has as its principal purpose the provision of programmes which are comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

EC writes to SIXTEEN member states regarding potentially faulty implementation

That's a lot of miscreants, see details here. The most important are:

Jurisdiction/country of origin principle: The country of origin principle is essential to give service providers legal certainty and to help them develop new cross border business models.
Jurisdiction for satellite broadcasts (Article 2) When a broadcaster based outside the EU uses a satellite up-link in an EU country, that EU country will have jurisdiction. When there is no up-link in the EU, the EU country whose satellite capacity is used has jurisdiction.
Countries can restrict broadcast of unsuitable content (Article 2) EU countries can restrict the retransmission of unsuitable on-demand audiovisual content that may not be banned in its country of origin when this is required by overriding general interest considerations such as the protection of minors.
Two-step safeguard for receiving countries (Article 4) If an EU Member State objects to the content in a television broadcast from another Member State, it can use a consultation procedure (cooperation procedure) to address the country of origin. The latter shall then issue a non-binding request for the broadcaster to comply with the stricter rules of the targeted country.
If the broadcaster circumvents these national rules, the objecting country can also - with the Commission's prior approval – take binding measures (circumvention procedure).
Member States cannot block broadcasts or on-demand services from other Member States without following these procedures.
Definition of audiovisual commercial communication (Article 1(1)(h)) The AVMS rules have a broad definition of what constitutes advertising, including sponsorship, product placement, teleshopping, etc. This is to ensure that all forms of commercial audiovisual content are covered by the same common set of rules, regardless of how they are used for the programmes. The AVMS rules define the conditions under which product placement is allowed. Member States are free to adopt stricter rules for media companies under their jurisdiction, provided that those rules comply with EU law.

2010/13/EC updates 2007/65/EC with Charter of Fundamental Rights

The official consolidated text is now available here.