Euro court says M7 Group has to pay

10.32 Europe/London, October 17, 2011 By Robert Briel

The Luxembourg based M7 Group will be required to pay authors rights associations Sabam and Agicoa Belgium for its DTH satellite transmissions, following a verdict from the European Court.

The M7 Group has refused to pay such rights since the start of its Belgian DTH services TV Vlaanderen and TéléSat, claiming that it is just a ‘technical facilitator’ and not a broadcasting service.
The two Belgian organisations took the matter to court, where they won the case of first instance in 2008. Sabam argued that the DTH platform was just an alternative for cable and IPTV services and hence payments were due.
Following an appeal by the M7 Group, the Court of Appeal in Brussels asked the European Court in Luxembourg for clarification of the matter in October 2009.
The Luxembourg court has now ruled that the M7 Group is just a technical facilitator, according to the European directive 93/83. Reception of the various channels is made possible by the DTH platforms and they also offer a variety of tiers with different channels.
The court also ruled that no additional dues have to be paid for the channels that are available free-to-air in the country.
Following the verdict, the Court of Appeal in Brussels is expected to rule that the M7 Group will have to pay the authors’ rights associations.