Updated: May 9, 2012 (Initial publication: April 23, 2012)

Breaking news

The Conseil Supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA)-(French audiovisual regulatory) consults on the issue of the free dissemination of extracts from sports competitions, or any event of great interest to the public, including on the Internet


The French Act of 1 February 2012 "to strengthen the ethics of sport and sports rights" has sought to resolve the issue of the use of short excerpts from sports other than broadcast rights holders. Prior to this, only a code of conduct existed, the uncertainty remaining, and also about the dimension of the extract and the support of the extract. The Act is now related to the extract in any medium, including the Internet, and gives the power to establish specific rules to the Conseil Supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA)- (French audiovisual regulatory). Furthermore, the Act of May 17, 2011 has extended the right to free diffusion in any event a great interest to the public. The Conseil Supérieur de l'audiovisuel (CSA) – (French audiovisual regulatory) has opened on April 4, 2012, a public consultation. It will be closed on 18 May.

© thejournalofregulation

The regulation is intrusive by nature... Indeed, this is a text which operates devolution of powers to a regulator for a specific purpose: sporting events. This allows to term to many legal uncertainties in the matter. But, by another Act, this right is extended to "events of any nature which are of great interest to the public". By one such crossing of two laws, the regulator is given with considerable power, even when the right of free access is an exception to the rights of intellectual property of broadcasters.

 In addition, while the notion of "sporting events" is easily clearly identifiable (though the idea of short diffusion is less), the reference to "any events of great interest to the public" is virtually discretionary. 

Such a criterion gives indeed a margin of discretion to the regulator, because he will be the one that defines what is a "great interest" to the public (according to the public? according to the State? according to a cultural policy? according to the virtue of pluralism? etc.). It is surprising at a time when regulators are enough dispute, thus increase their margin of discretion. We understand that the regulator of audiovisual protects itself in advance for critics using the clever technique of the public consultation.

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