The evaluation of the Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive is included in the European Commission's list of REFIT actions. The process is expected to be concluded by December 2015 and the Commission will decide in early 2016 if a review is necessary.
The CoR has already expressed in a previous opinion that the country of origin principle as provided for in the (AMS) Directive should be reviewed in the light of the changing audiovisual landscape.
Another CoR concern is the difference in treatment by the AMS Directive of linear audiovisual services on the one hand, for which the directive sets percentages of European and independent works that EU broadcasters are obliged to schedule, and non-linear audiovisual services on the other, for which these obligations are worded in a more flexible manner.
The European Commission's follow-up document
COM takes note of the CoR opinion on the review of the AVMSD rules on material scope, the country of origin principle, the geographical scope, copyright, rules on promotion of European works, protection of minors, advertising rules, and uses the CoR opinion as part of the evidence base during the REFIT procedure.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- deems it appropriate to review the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) in the light of constantly evolving technological developments and the geopolitical situation and their implications for the production, distribution and consumption of audiovisual media;
- asserts the appropriateness of taking the regional dimension in the AVMSD into account, in order to enhance European cultural identities, cross-border co-productions within the European Union and local creative innovation;
- stresses the value of the dual system that typifies the European audiovisual landscape, ensuring the stimulating co-existence of public and private stakeholders, and highlights the importance of encouraging Member States to provide sufficient long-term public funding for public audiovisual operators, in order to enable them to carry out public service obligations in both linear and non-linear services in full compliance with European regulations governing the funding of public service broadcasters;
- considers that the scope of the AVMSD must cover all types of audiovisual content providers, including those that host user-generated content;
- reiterates the call made in its opinion on European film in the digital era , for an assessment of the country of origin principle as enshrined in the AVMSD, considering in particular questions of legal certainty, which is crucial for the development of European audiovisual stakeholders. The appropriateness of considering the so-called "country of destination principle" as is being done in some Member States, should therefore also be explored, to the extent that this does not empty the country of origin principle of all substance;
- considers that the principle of copyright territoriality must be preserved, this mechanism having proved its effectiveness in guaranteeing payment to producers and promoting quality European audiovisual production;
- supports the introduction of portability of rights by audiovisual media service users and, in particular, portability of rights relating to audiovisual subscriptions, allowing users to access the services they have in their country when travelling elsewhere in the European Union;