Frequently asked questions - F.A.Q.
Probably because these channels have only bought the rights to broadcast programmes in their home country. So they're unable to offer subscriptions to people in other countries and have to encrypt their satellite signal.
To broadcast outside their home market, they would have to acquire separate programme rights for each country (under the territoriality principle, which is an integral part of copyright law).
The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive aims to create a single market for broadcasting and other audiovisual media services, but it doesn't cover copyright.
That's why the Commission has launched its Content Online initiative. It acknowledges the need to improve existing licensing mechanisms – but for the moment there is little consensus on this.
The European Commission does not monitor individual programmes - it only looks at whether national governments are complying with the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
Most complaints about programmes are dealt with by national media regulators. If you don't speak the language of the country responsible, or if it's not clear which country is responsible, you can contact the media regulator in your country. Under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, they are required to cooperate with regulators in other EU countries, especially on cases involving more than one country.
European Audiovisual Observatory – MAVISE – to find out about a provider's jurisdiction
The EU has considered rules to prevent this, but finally rejected the idea for 2 reasons:
1) EU directives are only supposed to lay down broad ground rules, not detailed rules on individual issues like sound levels.
2) it would be technically difficult to enforce because:
it's not easy to decide what the sound level of the accompanying programme is, as it can vary a lot within the same programme (think of action movies, for instance)
the people who put blocks of advertisements together don't know when and in which programmes the advertisements will be screened
imposing a maximum sound level would not really help, as this would not prevent the common practice of producers turning up the volume for the quieter parts of the adverts, to make the whole thing sound louder.
The 2007 Audiovisual Media Services Directive does not cover advert sound levels, but it does not stop national governments or self-regulatory organisations laying down rules for this.
The EU has only very limited power to tell countries how to run and finance their national broadcasting systems.
Its primary job is just to ensure there is fair competition between broadcasters. It makes sure that government funding for public broadcasters is not excessive, measured against the scope of the broadcasters' remit.
For more on this division of powers, see:
Advertising is a field where the EU regulates only when strictly necessary to protect the public interest.
Instead it promotes self-regulation and co-regulation (self-regulation of the industry combined with government intervention) as more flexible and adaptable alternatives to binding regulation, in the face of rapidly evolving markets.
However, if this approach fails, we will consider other options, including regulation.