Sports media rights and the Digital Single Market… Is your business ready?

On 6 May 2015 the European Commission published its strategy for a ‘Digital Single Market’ for Europe. The Commission’s communication outlines its grand vision for a Europe in which ‘the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured and where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence’. Of particular interest to businesses in the sports media rights industry will be the Commission’s proposals to prevent ‘unjustified geo-blocking’ and modernise (and harmonise) existing copyright rules, as steps to achieving its goal under the first pillar. The Commission’s view is that, except where justified, geo-blocking should be expressly prohibited so that EU consumers and businesses can take full advantage of the single market in terms of choice and lower prices. The materials published by the Commission have not yet clarified what should be considered a legitimate justification for the use of geo-blocking.

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