International sports rights

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International sports rights

There’s nothing more frustrating to sit down in front of your computer 5 seconds before the match starts to be presented with a standard copyright notice, usually along the lines of “Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.”

While I have nothing against international copyright law, the way media companies use it to their financial advantage and the disadvantage of the sport-watching public annoys me immensely.

For example, today’s H-cup match between Stade Français and Bath was broadcast on TV by Sky in the UK and Canal+ in France; which means you have to watch the match in French in France and English in the UK. Likewise for the radio rights. You can listen to the match in France, in French, or in the UK in English. i.e. you do not have a choice of which language to watch/listen to the match in, because it is assumed that if you are in that ‘territory’ you must be a native speaker.

Now, fortunately my French is good enough to have been able to enjoy the match in either language. However I really don’t understand why the BBC broadcast of the match is restricted in France, as their audio stream, being in another language, does not compete directly with the French stream. i.e. there is no financial advantage or disadvantage in the BBC broadcasting the stream beyond their borders, except into other English-speaking territories.

But in this case it is likely that SKY and Canal have also bought the audio rights to the event , without the intention of broadcasting, in an effort to get you to buy a satellite package. In my view there should be rules that dictate that if you buy the audio rights to a territory – you must actually broadcast them, and if the language you are broadcasting in is not shared by another territory, then you should automatically be granted the right to broadcast into that territory also. i.e. the BBCs coverage of the H-cup should be available across Europe, except in Ireland where it competes with RTE.

Now I’m going to watch I don’t really care about Clermont vs Ospreys on France 2 .. in French.

By | 2010-01-16T16:44:53+00:00 January 16th, 2010|Life in France, pointless whinging|4 Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Louisa Gummer January 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    To be honest – it wasn't that great a match! And the BBC Radio Bristol commentary only appeared on the internet for the first half anyway – typical BBC Radio Bristol cock-up!

  2. Louisa Gummer January 16, 2010 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    We could hear the French radio commentary in the UK on the audio link on the ERC website – maybe you could have had the first half BBC Radio Bristol commentary that way?

  3. Bart Hulley January 16, 2010 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Nope – I tried the BBC, they weren't allowed to broadcast in France. But, I know, we lost again! Glad I didn't buy tickets.

  4. Matthew Morrison January 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm - Reply

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