Insights European Parliament adopts proposals to block illegal streaming of live sporting events and to strengthen organisers’ rights


To help combat the problem, Parliament is calling on the Commission to clarify and improve the current EU framework on intellectual property rights for live sport events, currently not subject to copyright protection, and to introduce specific provisions regarding the rights of sport event organisers, for whom the licensing of broadcasting rights is a key source of income. MEPs note that some Member States have already introduced specific legal protection from which organisers can benefit.

According to the proposals, existing rules need to be adapted to address the specific short-term value of live sport events and concrete measures should be introduced to ensure the immediate removal of illegal content, under effective safeguards. Given that illegal streams are most harmful in the first thirty minutes of their appearance online, the proposals call for such streams to be removed or disabled immediately and no later than thirty minutes following a notification by rights holders or a certified “trusted flagger”.

MEPs reiterate the importance of hosting platforms acting swiftly to remove content and call for an EU system establishing common criteria for certified “trusted flaggers” to be introduced, as well as further harmonisation of procedures and remedies in the future Digital Services Act and in other sector-specific proposals.

The proposals also state that safeguards need to be put in place. Injunction procedures to remove illegal sporting events must avoid arbitrary or excessive blocking of legal content. Enforcement measures should be proportionate and include access to judicial remedies, in particular for small businesses, SMEs and start-ups.

Legal offers on sport content should also be promoted more effectively in the EU and made easier for consumers to find online. The liability for illegal broadcasts should lie with the providers of sport streams, and not with the fans or consumers. To read the Parliament’s press release in full and for a link to the proposals, which were adopted with 479 votes in favour, 171 against and 40 abstentions, click here.