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Brexit and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive

Written by Mark Reed on 18 September 2018

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Newsflash, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) 2010/13/EU is at its latest round of technical notes and there seems to be an elephant in the room.

It seems that the UK have been given the cold shoulder after it would not be possible to have your ‘country of origin’ as UK for services under UK jurisdiction which puts the UK in a difficult position and now classifies as a third country for broadcasting into the EU.

The government released a report which stated that negotiations are going well but that we need to “prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’”.  It is unclear what is meant by this statement but suggests through a guidance note that we must prepare in certain industries, such as the media and entertainment world, if there are not agreements in place or directives such as the AVMSD not agreeing on an inclusion for UK based service providers.

An example of jurisdictional applicable providers is the broadcasting license that providers currently require which is valid all across the EU member states. As this license is regulated by Ofcom, the rules set out would be the only rules the providers have to comply with.

When the UK actually does leave the EU, the big advice that is being given to broadcasters is that they must ensure that their services are being broadcast in a country that is willing to give authorization rather than there being just an assumption. The government added “It is [a company’s] responsibility to take measures to ensure that [they] can obtain a valid licence or authorisation to ensure compliance if it is required.” Finally, the government stressed that if a broadcaster doesn’t take any action to ensure they have a valid licence then they will “likely to be viewed as a third-country broadcaster” broadcasting into the EU and this would mean that EU countries are free to impose through national laws further conditions on transmitting services into their territories”.

The most important point to this report is for all to realise that with Brexit round the corner, lots will change, and a no deal Brexit could mean a serious headache for the broadcasting industry.

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