EU Files Antitrust Charges Against Six US Film Studios

23 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

EU Files Antitrust Charges Against Six U.S. Film Studios.

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has opened an antitrust case against six major U.S. movie studios for preventing British satellite broadcaster Sky from showing their products outside the U.K. and Ireland. The EU Commission, which assesses antitrust matters for the 28-country EU, said Thursday it has sent a statement of objections to Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros regarding “contractual restrictions” that prevent Sky offering their full services to consumers in other EU nations.

The European Commission’s antitrust complaint also targets Walt Disney Co., Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal Media, Sony Pictures and Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures, according to an e-mailed statement Thursday. EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that “European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU.”

Regulators are focusing in particular on eliminating so-called geo-blocking, where firms block access to films or other online content outside a particular licensed territory. The European Commission, the bloc’s top antitrust authority, said Thursday that contracts agreed between Sky and the six studios may have prevented Sky from offering its U.K. and Irish pay-TV services to EU consumers elsewhere. The EU has separately raised concerns around licensing agreements between the film studios and other major European broadcasters, including Canal Plus of France, Sky Italia of Italy, Sky Deutschland of Germany and DTS of Spain.

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