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DSM Watch: Commission identifies two trends from responses to SatCab Directive consultation but extending to online splits opinion

In August 2015 the EU Commission started a public consultation regarding the review of the Satellite and Cable Directive. The EU commission has now released its views on the first preliminary trends of the public consultation


For an overview of the Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy take a look at our earlier blogs for the whole and each of its three “pillars” here.

The Hogan Lovells DSM Watch team is a multi-jurisdiction, cross-practice group working together to keep you informed as the initiatives under the DSM strategy roll out.

SatCab Directive consultation

The Satellite and Cable Directive (93/83/EEC), – SatCab for short – governs copyright rules regarding satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission and is under review as part of the DSM strategy.

In particular, the Commission is looking at whether to extend the “country of origin principle” currently applicable to satellite broadcasts in the Directive to broadcasters’ online transmissions. The “country of origin principle” for satellite broadcasts states that the broadcast is deemed to happen in the country from where the signal is sent to the satellite, and not in all countries in which the satellite broadcast can be received. This way the broadcaster only needs to secure licences from content right holders in one country, rather than for each country within the satellite’s footprint.

A second question under review is whether the simultaneous and unchanged retransmission of TV and radio programs online should be treated the same way as retransmissions via cable within the SatCab Directive.

The Commission’s assessment of the directive mainly consists of two components: A study conducted by an external contractor as well as a public consultation. The preliminary results of the latter have now been published.

Preliminary Results

The consultation received a total of 257 replies, with more than three quarters of the respondents acting on behalf of a company or organization, most of which were connected to the broadcasting industry or rights holders/managers. Most non-individual replies were received from Germany, closely followed by the UK.

The commission observed two preliminary trends:

  • The regulations on Satellite transmissions are still considered relevant by most of the respondents. The respondents are however, divided on extending the “country of origin principle” to broadcasters’ online transmissions.
  • The regime governing cable retransmissions is considered relevant by the majority as well. Extending the applicable clearance system to internet transmissions is welcomed by some respondents, opposed by others.


A detailed report on the consultation, as well as the results of the commissioned study is expected to be published by the Commission in spring 2016.