May 9, 2023
The Commission has adopted and published a Recommendation on combatting commercial scale online piracy of sports and other live events, such as concerts and theatre performances. It encourages Member States, national authorities, rights holders and providers of intermediary services to take effective, balanced and appropriate measures to fight the unauthorised retransmission of such streams, whilst at the same time complying with fundamental rights and personal data protection rules.
The Recommendation focuses on three main areas:
- prompt action in respect of notices related to live events: building on the Digital Services Act, the Recommendation stresses the importance of urgent action from providers of hosting services in order to minimise the harm caused by illegal streaming;
- dynamic injunctions: based on remedies in the Enforcement Directive (2004/48/EC) and building on the experiences of some Member States, the Recommendation encourages the use of blocking injunctions tailored to live events and, for live sports events, encourages Member States to grant legal standing to sports event organisers to seek an injunction where it is currently not possible; and
- commercial offers and awareness: the document recommends that live and sports event organisers and broadcasters increase the availability, affordability and attractiveness of their commercial offers to end users across the EU; it calls on Member States to raise users’ awareness of legal offers of this type of content and of the issue of piracy among enforcement authorities.
The Recommendation also enhances cooperation amongst relevant national authorities and between rights holders and intermediaries to better tackle the unauthorised retransmission of live events. The aim is to ensure a regular exchange of information among administrative authorities on the measures applied, their challenges and good practices. Cross-border cooperation between Member States is also important, given that online piracy knows no borders.
Finally, the Recommendation sets up a monitoring system to assess its effects on the fight against piracy and to consider further measures if needed. This work will be done with the support of the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights and will entail the establishment of clear Key Performance Indicators.
The Commission and the EUIPO Observatory will closely monitor the effects of the Recommendation. The Commission will then assess the effects of the Recommendation on the illegal streaming of live events by 17 November 2025. This is also the deadline by which the Commission will evaluate the way the Digital Services Act interacts with other legislation, including copyright legislation. The Commission says that implementation of the Digital Services Act will not only boost the fight against illegal content on online platforms, but will also have a substantial impact on the unauthorised retransmission of live events. The Commission will then decide whether additional measures are needed at EU level, in view of technological developments, as well as the evolution of distribution channels and consumption patterns. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for a link to the Recommendation, click here.