EU Exit: Copyright clearance for satellite broadcasting from 1 January 2021


Last updated 26 November 2020

The UK has agreed a deal with the EU. This page tells you the new rules from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.

The EU Satellite and Cable Directive provides a country-of-origin principle for licensing of copyright material in cross-border satellite broadcasts. This means that when a satellite broadcaster transmits a copyright work, eg a film, from one EEA (European Economic Area) state to another, they are only required to get the copyright holder's permission for the state in which the broadcast originates. This avoids satellite broadcasters having to secure individual licences for every member state in which their broadcasts are received.

Actions for UK satellite broadcasters

UK broadcasters may no longer benefit from the country-of-origin principle for broadcasts into the EEA from 1 January 2021 and might need to get additional right holder permissions covering the EEA states to which they broadcast.

This will depend on how the domestic legislation of each EEA member state treats broadcasts originating in non-EEA countries - for example, whether they apply the country-of-origin principle to non-EEA broadcasts, as UK law does.

UK broadcasters should:

  • check the domestic legislation of each EEA member state into which they broadcast to identify how they treat broadcasts originating in non-EEA countries
  • consider whether their licensing arrangements will need to change after the from 1 January 2021 to allow them to continue to broadcast into the EEA

Broadcast of works transmitted into the UK

In the UK, the country-of-origin principle will continue to be applied to broadcasts from any country.

Legitimate satellite broadcasts of copyright works transmitted into the UK from abroad will not need specific right holder permission for the UK, except where both of the following apply:

  • the broadcast is commissioned or uplinked to a satellite in the UK
  • it originates from a country that provides lower levels of copyright protection

First published 26 November 2020