The European Film Agency Directors (EFADs) have published a declaration outlining their concerns about the actions being taken at the European Union level which will undermine cultural diversity, contractual freedom, and territorial exclusivity. The declaration was adopted at our plenary meeting at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday 21st May 2017 and has been published online.
The EFADs welcome the European Commission’s continued ambitions to increase the circulation of European films and access to these works, but we warn of the dangers that the instruments proposed will almost certainly have the opposite effect and harm audiences and businesses across Europe.
The EFADs, made up of film agencies in 31 countries in Europe, call on the European institutions to delete the country of origin principle in the regulation on online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and to remove audiovisual services entirely from the geo-blocking regulation.
Furthermore, the EFADs ask the European Commission to take full account of the potential risks of the Sky UK competition case (Case At.40023), the outcome of which could damage cultural diversity in Europe, the sustainability and efficiency of the European audiovisual industry, and benefit mainly big players at the expense of smaller European players.
In summary, the EFADs are concerned about:
- The impact of the country of origin principle on the negotiating positions of producers, distributors and sales agents and their ability to sell their rights territory-by-territory
- The consequences of the Sky UK competition case on the ability of rights holders to use contractual clauses which enforce their territorial rights
- The dangers of prohibiting audiovisual services from using geo-blocking to support exclusive distribution arrangements
The consequences of undermining the principle of territoriality is set to diminish investment in content production and reduce the value of rights, leading to fewer European audiovisual works and international co-productions. It will also mean weaker competition in the online marketplace and reduced circulation and distribution of European works.
Peter Dinges, President of EFADs, said: “One of the key objectives of the EFADs is to ensure Europe remains one of the world’s most culturally diverse collection of nations but the actions being taken by the Commission and more recently the Parliament could accidently jeopardise this. We want to work with the European institutions to help achieve our common aim and adopt solutions which are in the interests of the European industry and audiences, and in the spirit of the EU Treaties.”
 European Commission. 14 September 2016. “Proposal for a Regulation on certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions“ 2016/0284 (COD)
 European Commission. 25 May 2016. “Proposal for a Regulation on addressing geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination.” 2016/0152 (COD)
 European Commission. 23 July 2015. “Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections on cross-border provision of pay-TV services available in UK and Ireland.” Press Release IP/15/5432