IRIS newsletter 2023-9
European Audiovisual Observatory
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Tel. : +33 (0) 3 90 21 60 00
Fax : +33 (0) 3 90 21 60 19
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Executive Director: Susanne Nikoltchev
Maja Cappello, Editor • Francisco Javier Cabrera Blázquez, Sophie Valais, Amélie Lacourt, Justine Radel, Deputy Editors (European Audiovisual Observatory)
Documentation/Press Contact: Alison Hindhaugh
Tel.: +33 (0)3 90 21 60 10
Sabine Bouajaja, European Audiovisual Observatory (co-ordination) • Paul Green • Marco Polo Sarl • Nathalie Sturlèse • Brigitte Auel • Erwin Rohwer • Sonja Schmidt • Ulrike Welsch
Sabine Bouajaja, European Audiovisual Observatory (co-ordination) • Sophie Valais, Francisco Javier Cabrera Blázquez and Amélie Lacourt • Linda Byrne • Glenn Ford • David Windsor • Aurélie Courtinat • Barbara Grokenberger
Coordination: Cyril Chaboisseau, European Audiovisual Observatory
© 2023 European Audiovisual Observatory, Strasbourg (France)
Expressions of joy and relief swept through the US audiovisual industry (and beyond) when it was announced that the strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) had ended with a satisfactory agreement. The strike by the actors' union, SAG-AFTRA, however, continues and it is not yet clear when it will end.
Among other important points of concern (such as remuneration!), both strikes have raised an important issue: the use of artificial intelligence in the creation of audiovisual works. The WGA strike resulted in an agreement that AI is not a writer and that written material created by AI will not be considered literary, source or assigned material, while the SAG-AFTRA strike is still deadlocked on this issue. Turning to Europe, although the discussion is far from being as advanced, it is being followed with equal interest. To give you a few recent examples, the UK's data protection watchdog has issued a preliminary notice against the risks of Snapchat's AI chatbot, and France has taken some initiatives to regulate AI with regard to the audiovisual sector and to copyright matters. Unsurprisingly, AI will be a recurring theme in the Observatory's reporting. Stay tuned for our next major AI report in 2024!
Speaking of recurring themes, I mentioned in a previous editorial that the first critical reactions to the European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) have already emerged. The recently adopted position of the European Parliament has created both positive and negative waves: while European professional audiovisual and cultural organisations have welcomed the clarifications on Article 20 EMFA regarding the promotion of European audiovisual creation, journalists have expressed their dismay at the way spyware is regulated. Let's see what the trilogues will bring!
Enjoy the read!
Maja Cappello, Editor
European Audiovisual Observatory
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
European Court of Human Rights: Amvrosios-Athanasios Lenis v. Greece
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) once again confirmed that in a democratic society there can be no tolerance for stirring up hatred, discrimination or violence against LGBTI people. Applying the abuse clause of Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the ECtHR found that Amvrosios-Athanasios Lenis, as a senior officer of the Orthodox Church, could not claim the benefit of the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 10 ECHR: Lenis’ expressions and statements, disseminated through his personal blog spot, amounted to the gravest form of hate speech...
European Court of Human Rights: Index.hu Zrt v. Hungary
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered a judgment in a case concerning the decision by Hungarian courts to order the Internet news portal Index.hu to pay compensation for having published a story recounted by a third person, which the domestic courts found to have been false and defamatory. The ECtHR considered the imposition of objective liability on Index.hu for the reproduction of the statements, irrespective of whether the author or publisher acted in good or bad faith and in compliance with journalistic duties and obligations, to be a violation of Index.hu’s right of journalistic...
European Court of Human Rights: Radio Broadcasting Company B92 AD v. Serbia
According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Serbia has violated the right to freedom of expression and information as protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) by interfering with the broadcast of a TV news item and an online article published by the Radio Broadcasting Company B92 AD (B92). The ECtHR unanimously found that the disproportionate civil sanctioning of B92 for defaming a public official allegedly involved in corruptive practices could not be justified for relevant and sufficient reasons. The ECtHR in particular considered the measures...
EU: Council of the EU
EU ministers adopt the Cáceres Declaration aimed at promoting culture as an essential public good
In the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, the 27 EU Ministers for Culture and the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth met up on 25 and 26 September 2023 during the plenary session of the Informal Ministerial Meeting in Cáceres, Spain. The meeting was chaired by Miquel Iceta, the Spanish Minister for Culture and Sport, and focused on the Presidency’s priorities in the field of culture. All ministers endorsed the Cáceres Declaration, reaffirming their commitment to culture. In particular, they undertook to...
EU: Court of Justice of the European Union
CJEU judgment dismisses Valve Corporation's action against the European Commission regarding the geo-blocking of certain video games on Steam
On 27 September 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its judgment in Case T-172/21, Valve Corporation v. Commission. An action had been brought before the General Court of the European Union by Valve Corporation ("Valve"), seeking the annulment of a decision of the European Commission regarding the geo-blocking of certain PC video games on the platform Steam, a video game digital distribution service and storefront developed by Valve. Acting on the basis of information it had received, the European Commission found that Valve and five games publishers (Bandai,...
EU: European Commission
DSA: Launch of the European Commission's Transparency Database of content moderation decisions
Under Article 17 of the Digital Services Act (DSA), providers of hosting services are required to provide users with statements of reasons whenever they remove or restrict access to certain content. Those statements of reasons, containing clear and specific information, are collected in the European Commission’s Transparency Database, the creation of which is foreseen by Article 24(5) of the DSA. This makes the Transparency Database the first regulatory repository of publicly accessible content moderation decisions taken by providers of online platforms active in the EU, allowing users to...
EU: European Parliament
EMFA: European Parliament adopts its position
Following CULT MEPs’ adoption of their European Media Freedom Act (EMFA) report (see IRIS 2023-8:1/9), the EP adopted in plenary its position (negotiating mandate) on the European Commission’s proposal for the EMFA on 3 October 2023, with 448 votes in favour, 102 against and 75 abstentions. The EP’s position suggests 295 amendments to the European Commission’s proposal, covering the entire proposal. The EP’s position has made both positive and negative waves. Before the summer, a coalition of organisations from the audiovisual and cultural sectors...
[CY] Radio and Television Amending Law allows one legal or natural person to own 100% of a licensee's capital share
An amendment to the Law on Radio and Television Organisations has abolished the 25% ceiling of capital shareholding in a radio or television licensee, allowing a person, legal or natural, to own 100% of a licensee's capital share. The amendment was introduced with a law proposal by a deputy of the Democratic Party – DIKO (Δημοκρατικό Κόμμα – ΔΗΚΟ) submitted in September 2021. The law proposal, reported in IRIS 2021-10:1/18, was modified and reformulated in May 2023 while the matter...
[CZ] Recommendations for broadcasters to prepare Action Plans for making television programmes accessible for people with hearing impairments and people with visual impairments
The regulatory body, the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting, has issued a Recommendation to broadcasters and operators of on-demand audiovisual services for the preparation of Action Plans for making television programmes accessible to persons with hearing impairments and persons with visual impairments (hereafter “Action Plans”) for the period from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2025. The draft Action Plans must be discussed with organisations associating persons with hearing impairments and persons with visual impairments. The result of negotiations between the operator and...
[DE] Federal Film Board publishes updated film support levy report
The German Filmförderungsanstalt (Federal Film Board – FFA) has published an updated evaluation report on the revenue generated by the FFA film levy. The report describes the film levy system and the amount of revenue it generated between 2012 and 2022, examines the market sectors relevant to the film industry and looks ahead to how current payers of the levy and the market as a whole might develop between now and 2029. Following the decision to extend the German Filmförderungsgesetz (Film Support Act – FFG) until the end of 2024, the FFA has now updated the report that was...
[DE] Minden Administrative Court rules on YouTube blogger’s right to press freedom
In a ruling issued in summary proceedings on 16 August 2023, the Verwaltungsgericht Minden (Minden Administrative Court – VG) decided that a YouTube blogger who wishes to report on a court case concerning himself is entitled to protection under the freedom of the press. The court also allowed him to take the equipment that he needed to produce reports into the court building. The decision concerned a court procedure involving the YouTube blogger at the Landgericht Bielefeld (Bielefeld District Court – LG), which he wanted to report on via his YouTube channel. To do this, he intended...
[DE] VAUNET market analysis reports continued growth of pay-TV and paid video content in Germany
On 31 August 2023, VAUNET, the umbrella organisation of private audio and audiovisual media companies in Germany, published its annual report, “Pay-TV and Paid-VoD in Germany” for 2022/2023. The report states that overall revenues for pay-TV and paid video-on-demand (VOD) in Germany rose by around 5% to EUR 4.9 billion in 2022. VAUNET predicts that they will grow by a further 8% to EUR 5.3 billion in 2023, breaking the EUR 5 billion barrier for the first time. In the German-speaking region (Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland), revenue increased by approximately 4% to...
[ES] The Spanish Government launches a consultation to promote the digital transformation of news media outlets
The Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has launched a consultation targeted at media outlets with the objective of identifying their needs in addressing their digital transformation and advancing cybersecurity issues. This will be achieved primarily by fostering a more secure relationship with consumers through digital platforms. The main topics media outlets are invited to comment on are the type of organisations that are part of the media sector (press and digital media, according to their activity, size and geographical distribution), the digital technologies...
[FR] Audiovisual production investment obligations: first cross-industry agreement with Netflix
On 14 September, Netflix and the professional organisations representing the audiovisual creation sector (USPA, SPI, AnimFrance, SATEV, SEDPA, SACD and SCAM) announced that they had signed a partnership agreement as part of the investment obligations laid down in the so-called SMAD (On-demand Audiovisual Media Services) Decree of 20 June 2021. The decree, which brought the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive into French law, sets out in detail the obligations for foreign on-demand video platforms that target French audiences to help fund cinematographic and audiovisual production. The...
[FR] Initiatives to regulate AI in relation to audiovisual communication and copyright
A few days after the French Prime Minister had announced, on 19 September, the creation of a committee on generative artificial intelligence (AI) comprising a group of experts who will analyse the impact of AI on culture, the Autorité de régulation de la communication audiovisuelle et numérique (the French audiovisual regulator – ARCOM) launched a fact-finding mission that will examine the role of AI in audiovisual and digital communication, while a bill designed to regulate artificial intelligence through copyright was tabled in the French Parliament. AI technologies...
[GB] Data protection regulator adopts a preliminary enforcement notice against Snap regarding the privacy risks posed by AI chatbot "My AI"
On 6 October 2023, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the UK’s data protection regulator, issued a preliminary enforcement notice against Snap Inc. and Snap Group Limited over “a potential failure to assess the privacy risks posed by its generative AI chatbot ’My AI.’” The ICO’s investigation provisionally found that Snap “failed to adequately identify and assess the risks to several million ‘My AI’ users in the UK,” including children between the ages of 13 and 17. This preliminary enforcement notice follows the...
[GB] The UK’s Online Safety Bill moves forward on path to becoming law
On 19 September 2023, the UK’s long-debated Online Safety Bill (OSB) received Parliamentary approval and will soon achieve Royal Assent, clearing the way for it to become law. This new legislation represents a seminal milestone in digital and technological policy formulation in the UK’s post-Brexit era. It will introduce a new regulatory regime for online platforms and search engines which target the UK, imposing a set of obligations on in-scope services with consequences for non-compliance. Main objectives The Bill, which has become the subject of intense discussion and scrutiny,...
[IT] AGCOM appointed as Italian Digital Services Coordinator
In accordance with Article 49, paragraph 2, of Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 October 2022 on digital services (DSA), the Italian legislator has designed the Italian Communications Regulatory (Agcom) as Digital Services Coordinator (Article 15 of the law decree of 15 September 2023, n. 123 entitled "Urgent measures to combat youth hardship, educational poverty and juvenile crime, as well as for the safety of minors in the digital environment"). Agcom has to guarantee the effectiveness of the rights and the obligations established by the...
[IT] New provisions to increase the safety of minors in the digital sector
New measures to protect minors in the digital sphere have been introduced by Italian legislative decree No. 123 of 15 September 2023, entitled "Urgent measures to combat youth hardship, educational poverty and juvenile crime, as well as for the safety of minors in the digital sphere". In particular, in order to guarantee a safer digital environment for minors, Article 13 provides for new measures aimed at the manufacturers of electronic communication devices (smartphones, computers, tablets and, where compatible, video game consoles, and other possible connected objects such as televisions,...
[MD] Audiovisual Code amended again
On 31 July 2023, the Moldovan Parliament adopted a new set of amendments to the Audiovisual Media Services Code (the Code) designed to counter Russian propaganda. The amendments, at least in part, were put forward in response to the criticism by the Venice Commission that the sanctions for violations of the provisions foreseen by the 2022 amendments to the Code (see IRIS 2022-7:1/3) were problematic, as the formula on the “gradual application” of sanctions was found to be “too vague” and did not “provide sufficient guarantees against the risk of misuse or extensive...
[MD] Statute on StratCom enforced
Following the recent introduction by the President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, of a draft statute to establish an institution that would counter propaganda harmful to the Republic of Moldova and defend its citizens from information threats (see IRIS 2023-7:1/18), the statute on the proposed institution – the Centre for Strategic Communication and Combating Disinformation – was adopted by the parliament on 31 July and came into force on 18 August 2023. The national StratCom, still to be established, is to be named the Centre for Strategic Communication and Combating Disinformation....
[NL] Competition Authority investigation into KPN acquisition of telecom provider Youfone
On 14 September 2023, the Autoriteit Consument en Markt (the Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets) (ACM) issued a notable decision that the Dutch telecom provider KPN is not yet permitted to acquire rival telecom provider Youfone Nederland, as the acquisition needs “further investigation”. KPN’s services consist of offering electronic communications services via its fixed and mobile networks, including telephony, data, internet, and television services; while Youfone Nederland is a mobile network operator that uses KPN’s network, and offers mobile telecommunications...
[NL] Senate adopts bill criminalising sharing of personal data for purpose of intimidation
On 11 July 2023, the Dutch Senate (Eerste Kamer) adopted a bill on the criminalisation of obtaining, distributing or otherwise making available personal data for the purpose of intimidation (strafbaarstelling gebruik persoonsgegevens voor intimiderende doeleinden), an activity known as “doxing”. This is where personal data, such as addresses and phone numbers, as well as private information about family members, is distributed online so that it can be used to intimidate someone, and journalists are often victims. Notably, recent Dutch government measures introduced to protect the safety...
United States of America
[US] Hollywood strike: writers reach agreement
In the United States of America (USA), a federal statute from Congress governs copyright law: the Copyright Act. There are also state laws which deal with issues not covered by federal law. According to Section 201, the ownership lies in the author of the work. However, this general principle knows derogations, among which the “work for hire” principle, as provided by Section 201 (b) Ultimately, in this scenario, employers become authors and owners of copyright in works created by their employees. Many works produced in this sector fall under the definition of works-made-for-hire....