Bloomberg News

Sky Unit May Face TV Sports-Clip Price Curbs, Court Aide Says

June 12, 2012

Sky Deutschland AG (SKYD) and broadcasters with rights to sports events such as UEFA Europa League soccer games may face curbs on fees they charge other channels for showing clips of the action on news programs, according to a European Union court aide.

Advocate General Yves Bot, a legal adviser to the European Court of Justice, said the Austrian broadcasting regulator was justified in limiting the price Sky Deutschland’s Austrian pay- TV channel Sky Oesterreich could charge the country’s public broadcaster ORF for clips of UEFA soccer matches.

“The limitation of the compensation payable by a television channel for the use of short extracts of high- interest events to the public, such as football matches, is justified,” the court said in a statement today.

Sky Oesterreich paid for the exclusive rights to broadcast UEFA Europa League matches within Austria from 2009 to 2012. It was told by KommAustria to provide short clips to ORF at cost price. Sky Oesterreich challenged this decision, arguing that it can’t be forced to give away clips to television news programs because it violates the company’s right to property and its right to operate a business.

Sky Oesterreich didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment on today’s opinion.

While the court aide’s opinions aren’t binding, they are followed by the EU’s highest court in most cases.

Bot said those rights to sports matches are mitigated by rules that only require broadcasters to provide clips of no more than 90 seconds “for events of high interest to the public” for short reports on news programs.

Sky Oesterreich is a unit of Sky Deutschland, a German pay- television operator part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

The case is: C-283/11 Sky Oesterreich.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.


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