Andrew Moger, CEO of the News Media Coalition (NMC), spoke at a high-level European Commission hearing on the issue of online piracy of live content. The hearing was held in advance of the Commission’s Recommendation aimed at creating a toolbox to combat illegal streaming of live events, in particular in sport.
The NMC’s CEO welcomed the inclusion in the Commission’s question shared before the event: How can it be made sure that the actions taken to remove or disable access to unauthorised retransmissions of live events do not prevent users from accessing legitimate content?
He emphasised the significance of NMC members, including major news publishers and agencies, in the creative and content industries, and highlighted their mature and well-established news operations that involve video content and cross-linking with other news material from myriad sources including sport organisations themselves. Through news coverage, they provide exposure to sport, foster debate and deliver news material to consumers as they want it.
However, Moger also raised concerns over potential future over-blocking depending on how take down tools were shaped and applied over time.“Technical interventions must be designed and implemented with caution to prevent unintended consequences, including significant disruptions to news availability,” he warned.
Moger emphasised the NMC’s goal of achieving a balanced outcome from the commission process that ensures dynamic actions do not prevent users from accessing legitimate, albeit not formally licensed, news-related content. He highlighted that news organisations “are notpart of the problem”which the commission is seeking to address. News businesses are themselves victims of news content theft on an industrial scale and are too frustrated by the financial incentives behind it.
The Sports Rights Owners’ Coalition (SROC) acknowledged the NMC’s concerns, noting that there has not been a single instance of blocking of NMC member sites since the implementation of dynamic and live blocking orders in the UK in 2017. The SROC expressed its willingness to work with the NMC to ensure the protection of news content in the context of the Commission’s recommendations.
In conclusion, Moger stressed the importance of independent journalism in informing the public and fostering a common interest in sports and culture.