The Satellite and Cable Directive aims to facilitate the licencing of copyright and related rights and thereby to improve the cross-border provision and reception of satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission services in the Internal Market.

The modernisation of the copyright legislation and the Satellite and Cable Directive

One of the 16 initiatives of the Digital Single Market strategy, adopted on 6 May 2015, is to review the Satellite and Cable Directive in order to assess if its scope needs to be enlarged to cover broadcasters' online transmissions and whether further measures are needed to improve cross-border access to broadcasters' services in Europe.

The Commission has carried out a retrospective evaluation of the Satellite and Cable Directive, a study and a public consultation.

Building on this experience, the proposed regulation in the copyright package aims at facilitating access to more television and radio programmes online from other EU countries. A political agreement has been reached on this proposal on 13 December 2018. In particular, this legislation introduces the application of the country of origin principle to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations, and the mandatory collective management of rights to retransmissions by means other than cable. The new rules will make it easier for European broadcasters to make certain programmes available on their simulcasting or catch-up services online, and will simplify the distribution of more radio and TV channels by retransmission operators.

The Public Consultation on the Satellite and Cable Directive

As part of the review of the Satellite and Cable Directive, the Commission launched a Public Consultation (closed on 16th November 2015). The full report on this public consultation (in English, French and German) was published 4th May 2016).

The Commission assessed whether EU rules on copyright licensing for TV and radio broadcasting by satellite and cable are still up to date in our online environment, and whether they have helped European citizens access to TV and radio channels from other Member States.

The review also considered how to allow for wider online access to content, notably broadcasters' programmes, by users across the EU. The consultation helped the Commission assess the impact of extending the copyright clearing facilitation measures of the Directive.

The Commission sought views of consumers, public authorities, broadcasters, authors, audio-visual and record producers, performers, collective management organisations, satellite and cable operators, internet and online service providers and any other interested stakeholder.

The Directive

The Directive 93/83/EEC, concerning the harmonization of copyright laws in the particular fields of satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission has been in force since 1st January 1995. The aim is to facilitate the cross border transmission of audiovisual programmes, particularly broadcasting via satellite and retransmission by cable.

For satellite broadcasting, the Directive establishes that the copyright-relevant act takes place in the country of origin of the broadcast. In the case of simultaneous cable retransmissions, the Directive introduces the collective management of the rights.

In 2002, the Commission issued a report on the functioning of the Directive. Since then, new technological and business models for content distribution have emerged. The Commission has assessed the functioning of the Directive, also by means of the public consultation.