European Commission Work Programme 2023: a missed opportunity to tackle live content piracy

Despite a clear and unambiguous call from 112 organisations from across the full breadth of the EU’s cultural, creative and sports sectors, and from 107 Members of the European Parliament, the Commission has not included a legislative initiative to tackle live content piracy in its Work Programme for 2023. Live content piracy presents one of the greatest threats to the economic model of professional football.

As representatives of Europe’s major football leagues, we welcome the reference in the Work Programme to our concerns regarding piracy, but we are disappointed that those legitimate concerns are addressed through an inadequate non-legally binding recommendation. We strongly believe this will not create the necessary legal incentive for online intermediaries to respond immediately when illegal live content is notified.

Following one of the most challenging periods in our sector’s history, with the COVID-19 pandemic depleting advertising revenues whilst shuttering stadia and disrupting our operations across the continent, we need firm and decisive measures to protect the value of live content. This is imperative for our collective recovery and for the continuing investment that our sector makes in promoting, developing and encouraging the next generation of European sportspeople.

We remain immensely grateful to those who have supported us so far in our endeavour to bring this issue to the forefront of EU policymaking, including our members, MEPs and Member State representatives. Your enduring backing will help us to continue to fight online piracy of our events which funds wider criminality and endangers consumers. Furthermore, we wholeheartedly hope that we can count on the Commission to work with us to achieve this goal.

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