FIAD regrets that the IMCO Committee fails to support the European film-audiovisual industry.
FIAD regrets that the IMCO Committee fails to support the European film-audiovisual industry, a thriving pillar of the European economic engine delivering diverse content for audiences across Europe. The vote in Plenary offers a chance for MEPs to rectify this Report.
The International Federation of Film Distributors' and Publishers' Associations (FIAD) deeply regrets that Members of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted to adopt a Report that called for copyright protected works to be included in the scope of the Geo-blocking Regulation. FIAD reiterates its rock-solid support for preserving the ongoing exemption for copyright works from the Geo-blocking Regulation and for the principle of territorial exclusivity.
FIAD recalls that territorial exclusivity, the freedom to deploy geo-blocking and contractual freedom serve as cornerstones for sustaining and powering the European film-audiovisual industry. These principles underpin the sector's financial stability, providing benefits for both consumers and professionals, companies of all shapes and sizes, whether operating at a national or across Europe.
The ability to deploy geo-blocking which enables rightsholders to license rights on a territory-by-territory basis remains essential for businesses - including SMEs - across the EU to secure funding for content development, organising the optimal marketing, distribution, and exploitation (theatrical, physical carriers, broadcasting and online) of all types of content.
Our industry is unique in that significant upfront investment is required before any of the expenditure can be recouped. Licensing on a territory-by-territory basis - adapting to national and regional market realities- offers the optimum chance for these investments to be matched by earnings and for financing to be invested in future content. Geo-blocking is a mechanism to safeguard the investments made in content and the effort to bring it to audiences in a particular territory.
The IMCO Committee's proposed measure poses a significant threat to the economic foundation of a sector valued at 97 billion euros. Moreover, the call for such radical measures contradicts the fundamental principles of Proportionality and Reasoning enshrined in the Article 5(4) of the TFEU and directly contract Article 167 TFEU – “The Union shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity”.
Recent studies and report proved that the film and audiovisual sector is delivering more content than ever before to consumers, that territorial licensing is critical for the financing of diverse films and that the lifting of geo-blocking would lead to a reduction of content and prices rises for consumers.
Therefore, FIAD strongly urges all Members of the European Parliament to consider the viewpoint of their colleagues in the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) as they approach the plenary vote. CULT Members have endorsed an Opinion that reflects a profound understanding of the audiovisual sector and the necessity of pursuing a balanced approach to strengthen the cultural and creative industry. In their Opinion, the CULT Members rightfully recalled that “exclusive territorial licensing currently ensures the sustainable financing of films and audiovisual content, and contributes to ensuring both content and cultural diversity, pluralism, and a wide range of distribution business models, which ultimately benefit EU consumer”