Italy: Serie A media rights – End of the story?

As you may well be aware, Lega Nazionale Professionsti Serie A (the Italian top-tier soccer league) football rights have not yet been fully licensed. Whilst we are waiting for the results of the additional tender for the so called Package C and Package E media rights for the seasons 2015 to 2018, there is still some degree of uncertainty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Media, Sport & Entertainment Webinar 2014: Fair Dealing

Wednesday 23 July  2014
3.00 – 4.00 pm BST

We are delighted to invite you to the next session in our series of 1 hour webinars. This webinar will focus on Fair dealing.

When is it “fair” to use copyright content belonging to another without permission? This webinar will feature a lively discussion of the latest position on “fair use” defences to copyright claims. We will compare and contrast the laws of several major jurisdictions, with practical examples, and will consider future developments in this important area for the media industry.

I will chair the session, and our speakers will include specialists from the UK (John Wilks), Italy (Roberto Valenti), France (Florence Guthfreund-Roland) and the US (Andrew L. Deutsch).

It’s simple: the webinars are free and delivered to your desk. You can access the slides on your PC and access the audio presentation by freephone number. There will be an opportunity at the end of each session to ask questions.

This webinar may attract continuing legal education points, CPD or CLE, depending on the rules in your jurisdiction.

Best regards
Nick Fitzpatrick
Global Co-Chair, Media, Sport and Entertainment

If you wish to attend, please email

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Celebrity endorsements on social media: 7 tips for navigating the right of publicity

By David M Kramer

Social media makes building a brand easy: the tools are laid out in front of you, ready to launch your company to worldwide fame with a click of the mouse. Craft a few irreverent tweets, refresh the company Facebook page and voilà: you instantly have the power to engage consumers on a level never before possible, without the constraints of old-line paradigms.

In the real world, it’s not that simple. As with any emerging medium, the always-on world of social media generates risks for brand owners every minute. While these risks are not always predictable, experience provides guidance on some issues brands may face. Among these questions: how far can you leverage the names and images of celebrities when promoting your brand online?

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Australia: Official supplier of statistics to the NRL fails to obtain interlocutory injunction for breach of its intellectual property

On 8 May 2014, Sports Data Pty Ltd (Sports Data), NRL’s previous official supplier of statistics, filed an interlocutory applications against Prozone Sports Australia Pty Ltd (Prozone), the new supplier of statistics to the NRL. Sports Data alleged that during late 2013 and early 2014, Prozone used or copied the template or set of input criteria that it had developed over many years in order to provide detailed statistical analysis to the NRL. Read the rest of this entry »

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Australia: Illegal streaming hits the World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been a ratings success for SBS, which has an exclusive Media Rights Licence to broadcast the World Cup across television, radio and the internet in Australia. However, with the tournament now nearing its final stages, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that SBS is attempting to identify illegal live-streamers from Europe and the Middle East who are providing footage of the matches into Australia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Changes in Spain’s Cinema Act: Cool-off period for non-theatrical shows

Author: Diego Ramos


For several weeks, Spanish public authorities (city halls in particular) have offered to their residents and visitors non-theatrical exhibitions of movies for a reduced price or even for free. Summer Cinemas, Cinema Clubs, Cinema Weeks and similar initiatives have proven to be extremely popular in many cities, towns and villages all across Spain. Quite frequently, these offers included the attractive slogan “see the latest releases”  (which was more or less true depending on what you consider “latest releases”). From last Saturday (5 July 2014) this shall no longer work in this way.

By means of Spanish Royal Decree Law 8/2014, the Spanish Government has amended without early notice Spanish Law 55/2007 on Cinema matters. In addition to changing the terms under which the cinematographic entities operating in Spain shall register themselves, a change has been inserted on article 15.4 of that Law. According to that change, Spanish public authorities (basically city halls, but also other similar authorities) shall no longer exhibit for free or for a reduced price movies that were subject to theatrical release less than twelve months before the intended date of non-theatrical exhibition by the authorities. Such restrictions shall not apply in the case in which the representatives of the movie theatres / video producers notify to the authorities that no harm should occur as a result of the non-theatrical exhibition.

This legal change shall have a clear impact on a practice that has been growing steadily in the last years. At least in part, it shall return to the traditional approach, exhibiting less recent movies and making an effort to deliver quality rather than novelty.

From a formal viewpoint, it shall be clarified that a Spanish Royal Decree Law is a peculiar piece of legislation in the Spanish legal system. It is for all purposes a law, with the same status as an Act of Parliament, but it is approved by the Government in urgent situations and becomes immediately binding, subject to the later ratification of the Parliament only. Since the current Government has an outright majority in Parliament, ratification can be taken for granted.

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Aereo infringes broadcasters’ copyrights, US Supreme Court rules – coming impact for streaming and cloud services?

By Andrew L. Deutsch, Marc E. Miller and Melissa A. Reinckens

The United States Supreme Court has held that online video startup Aereo Inc. infringes broadcasters’ copyrights in on-air programming when Aereo transmits the programs to its Internet subscribers.

Ruling on June 25, the Court held that such transmissions are a public performance, and thus infringe the exclusive right to publicly perform a work protected by copyright. It rejected the argument that Aereo is only an equipment provider, and that subscribers, rather than Aereo, “perform” each transmission.

The Court held that Congress, in enacting the Copyright Act, had intended to prohibit cable TV companies from rebroadcasting copyrighted programs without the copyright owner’s permission, and that to carry out this congressional purpose, Aereo’s system, which operates without such permission, must be enjoined.

The Court’s holding will doom Aereo’s business in its current form. Broadcasters’ ability to protect their content, and to require cable TV operators to pay large retransmission fees for over-the-air programming, has been reinforced.

The most important future question, however, is how the Aereo decision will affect Internet streaming and cloud-based services. The way in which copyrighted works are stored and retrieved from such systems falls uncomfortably close to the definition of “public performance” as given in Aereo. Although the Court was careful to say that it was not prejudging the legality of such services, future copyright litigation directed to cloud storage and retrieval is almost inevitable, and the issue is likely to be back before the Court within several years.

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New EU actions on enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

On 1 July, the European Commission has adopted two communications on (i) an Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the EU and (ii) a Strategy for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in third countries.

Intellectual Property is a key driver for growth, innovation and employment, also (and even more) during the current economic crisis. However, says the EC, “the high numbers of infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR) can harm this positive trend. In 2012 alone, EU border control agencies registered 90,000 cases of goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (compared to fewer than 27,000 in 2005). The OECD estimates that the annual loss from IPR infringements to the world economy is around €200 billion“. Hence the need for an enhanced enforcement of IPRs, which must also take into account the changes that occurred and which will occur in the EU and at a global level. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doping tests and privacy rights in Spain: a key court decision

No one can deny that, over the last decade, Spain has taken the fight against Sports’ doping networks very seriously. In 2006 and 2013, two demanding laws for the health protection of federated sportsmen and the prosecution of fraud in sports competition have been passed by the Spanish Parliament. New and stringent regulations developing both laws were rapidly drafted by the local Sports authorities. Enforcement of the laws and the regulations has been particularly tough. In fact a bit too much, as one Spanish court recently ruled.

The facts are simple. The Spanish High Council for Sports (CSD) issued a regulation requiring certain federated sportsmen (e.g. the ones recovering from injuries) to be available to undergo doping tests “permanently”. This meant at any time, workdays or weekends, holidays or working periods, day or night, in public or private life. They need to report where they are at all times (hence the term “permanently”). The Spanish Association of Professional Cyclists (ACP) filed a claim against that regulation for this and other legal grounds in front of Spanish Audiencia Nacional, a central court based in Madrid that handles serious crime like terrorism, the lawfulness checking of regulations and other matters like privacy rights.

The Audiencia Nacional, in a decision that has just been made public, dismissed most of the arguments of the claim, supporting strongly the views of CSD against doping. The Audiencia Nacional even ruled that, since doping in sports is a matter of public concern, sports professionals are obliged to accept regular doping tests at unusual periods of time. However, the Audiencia Nacional also found that the Regulation went too far when requiring some federated sportsmen to report “permanently” where they are. They shall report where they can be “usually” found for undergoing a test (the law actually employs the term “usually”, rather than “permanently”, the court says, so the CSD went too far extending the scope of the legal authorization, especially when a constitutional right like privacy is at stake). The court could have stopped there. However, it went into detail on the merits of the case, analyzing whether the duty to report “permanently” the whereabouts of an individual breaches the constitutional right to privacy. It does, according to Audiencia Nacional. Every individual, also federated sportsmen, has the right to a minimum quality of life and a minimum of dignity. By making privacy zero that goal is not achieved.

The decision could still be appealed in front of the Spanish Supreme Court. Reporting where someone is “usually” may be only slightly different from reporting where s/he is at every single second. However, the decision is important, and not only because it shall improve slightly the lives of Spanish federated sportsmen and sportswomen. First of all, the court that issued this decision handles normally the legal review of the decisions made by the Spanish Data Protection Commissioner. So it is likely to have a very strong impact on any future court decision on privacy in Spain. Second, the court used for deciding a sports’ case arguments borrowed from the Spanish data protection practice, the Spanish Data Protection Commissioner and the European Data Protection Authorities (Art 29 Working Party) in geo-localization cases (i.a. AEPD reports of 28 June 2012 and 25 May 2009, AEPD Resolution of 6 June 2013, WP Art 29 Opinion of 16 May 2011). The special legal concept of “proportionality” that made up the core of privacy authorities’ and experts’ position in all these instances is the one that also boasts the new court decision. People like policemen and sportsmen can be obliged, for different reasons, to be geo-localized on a regular basis. Personal safety, public security, personal health and sports’ cleanness entail risks that justify such burden. Nevertheless, forcing them to surrender their privacy at all times in all contexts is probably not proportional to those risks that the law tries to mitigate. A life that shall be worth living requires a minimum of dignity, and privacy is a key part of it.


  • The Opinion of 16 May 2011 from the WP ex Art 29 can be checked here
  • The resolution of the Spanish Data Protection Commissioner of 6 June 2013 (in Spanish) can be checked here
  • The AEPD Report of 25 May 2009 (in Spanish) can be checked here
  • The original draft of Spanish Law 3/2013 on protection of sportsmen’s health and fights agains doping in sports can be checked here
  • The decision from the Audiencia Nacional can be found here



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Terminating a sportsperson’s contract for private conduct (the Todd Carney case)

By Judith Miller, Kirk Simmons and Julian Conti

On 28 June 2014, a photo was posted on social media of Cronulla Sharks’ Football Club five eighth Todd Carney engaging in a lewd act in a nightclub bathroom. The Cronulla Sharks acted swiftly, organising a teleconference with the Sharks board of directors, and subsequently terminating the remaining 3 years of Carney’s contract (Contract), rumoured to be worth around $650,000 a season. The Cronulla Sharks have stated that their reasoning behind the decision to terminate Carney’s NRL contract was because the photo appearing on social media did not meet the values and standards the club was looking to uphold and take into the future. The Cronulla Sharks CEO also issued a press statement.

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