On 19 May, the resolution tackling online piracy of live sport events was adopted by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) with 479 votes in favour, 171 against and 40 abstentions. The resolution considers the main challenge of sports events organisers, which is the protection of the economic value originating from the “live” nature of the broadcast. Illegal streaming of sports events is a growing phenomenon that is harmful to the sports ecosystem and to end users, who could be exposed to data theft or malware in the digital environment.
In order to help combat the shortcomings of the current EU framework on intellectual property rights for live sport events, the MEPs call on the Commission to “clarify and adapt exiting legislation, including the possibility of issuing injunctions requesting the real-time blocking of access to or removal of unauthorised online content” (quote rapporteur Angel Dzhambazki ECR, BG).
The adopted resolution with recommendations to the Commission calls for the removal of illegal streams within thirty minutes following a notification by rights holders or a certified “trusted flagger”. Legal offers on sport content should be promoted effectively in the EU and accessible for consumers. The report further clarifies that arbitrary or excessive blocking of legal content must be avoided. The liability for illegal broadcasts should lie with the providers of sport streams and not with the fans or consumers. With the report MEPs “requests that the Commission (…) submit without undue delay (…) a proposal for legislative acts, following the recommendations set out in the Annex hereto”.
The EOC Office warmly welcomes the adoption of the resolution and thanks all supportive MEPs. This should be the starting signal for the European Commission to come up with concrete remedies to tackle online piracy of live sporting events.