EU Court: Video on News Websites May Fall Under AVMS Legislation

Short videos on a newspaper’s website may fall under audiovisual media services legislation, according to a judgement from Court of Justice of the European Union last week.

In the case of New Media Online, an Austria company publishing online newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung, the court said the videos, which varied in length from 30 seconds to several minutes, could fall under the legislation when the “content and form” is “independent of that of the journalistic activity of the online newspaper.”

The case had been heard in the EU Court of Justice after the Administrative Court in Austria asked the Court of Justice to give an interpretation of the AVMS directive.

The European Commission is considering responses to its consultation on review of the AVMS directive. The News Media Association’s submission has stressed that online news services and newspaper websites must remain free of the controls imposed by the directive.

In the case of New Media Online, the Court said that the provision on a subdomain on a newspaper website, of videos of short duration consisting of local news bulletins, sports and entertainment clips falls within the concept of “programme” within the meaning of the Directive.

The judgement says: “The Court considers that an audiovisual service must not be systematically excluded from the Directive’s scope solely on the ground that the operator of the website concerned is a publishing company of an online newspaper.

“A video section which, solely as part of a website, meets the conditions to be classified as an on-demand audiovisual media service, does not lose that classification merely because it is accessible on the website of a newspaper or because it is offered within that site.”