Live football piracy: Brussels angers audiovisual and sports players


Wasted effort. Despite repeated calls from the world of audiovisual and sport, as well as…

Live football piracy: Brussels angers audiovisual and sports players

Live football piracy: Brussels angers audiovisual and sports players

Wasted effort. Despite repeated calls from the world of audiovisual and sport, as well as from the European Parliament, Brussels has not, for the time being, chosen to legislate to fight against the piracy of audiovisual content broadcast live.

This Thursday, the European Commission is expected to unveil a simple “recommendation”, i.e. a non-binding legal act, giving guidance and advice to member states.

This is a great disappointment for television, rights holders and performance halls, which are constantly ringing the alarm bells in the face of the explosion in the illegal broadcasting of live events. It mainly affects sport and music, but also theatrical performances or television games.

Some 17.1 million people in the EU and UK used illicit IPTV services in 2021, according to a recent report by the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance which puts the cost of piracy to 3.21 billion pay television.

“Mirror sites”

In its almost finalized recommendation, of which “Les Echos” has been informed, Brussels proposes a series of measures for Member States and market players, to promote the rapid removal of illegal content.

The text encourages, in particular, greater collaboration between online intermediary players, such as access providers and DNS (“domain name system”) services.

In particular, he asks them to be able to block access to illegal sites by suspending domain names or IP addresses.

And encourages dynamic blocking injunctions which make it possible to continuously block content, such as that which reappears under “mirror sites”, when they have already been deleted… France has taken steps in this direction.


Above all, the Commission would give itself two and a half years – according to the latest version of the project which can still move – to ***ess the effects of its recommendation and potentially p*** into law. Until now, the Commission has given itself three years.

“If this deadline is maintained, it means that the EU postpones the management of piracy indefinitely”, criticizes Grégoire Polad, director general of the ACT.

The Coalition for Live Content, which includes the ACT, rights holders (SROC) and even organizers of musical events and performing arts (Pearle), denounces a “total contradiction with the urgency of the situation” and recommends “one year”.

Same disappointment and arguments on the European Parliament side where twenty-four MEPs, all parties combined – including Sabine Verheyen (EPP), president of the Culture Committee, or Geoffroy Didier (PPE), wrote to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Commission , end of April. They are calling for “a clause” specifying that Brussels explores “other avenues, including the proposal for legislation”, if the recommendation is not enough.

Political will

All think that the recommendation will not produce the expected results and do not understand the lack of political will of the Commission, which nevertheless legislates in many areas.

“At this stage, we believe that this approach is the most effective in sending a strong signal to the various parties who can play a role in the fight against piracy and bring about rapid improvements,” replied a Commission official.

He recalls that European legislation already contains “tools and measures to combat online piracy, some of which have just been put in place”, such as the Digital Services Act.

A priori, the chances are very low that the Commission’s draft will be significantly modified by Thursday.

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