As a service to our media clients and contacts we are circulating this updated bulletin summarising the implementation status of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive in the following 12 EU Member States: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
As we have reported earlier the AVMS Directive is the most significant European legislation in the broadcasting and online video field for many years. All EU Member States were due to implement the Directive in their national laws on 19 December 2009. However, only three countries (Belgium, Romania and Slovakia) had notified the Commission of full implementation that date. In January 2010, the Commission entered the first stage of an infringement procedure by sending requests for information to the 23 Member States. In the meantime, 12 of them informed the Commission that they had modified their national rules to comply with the Directive (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). On 24 June 2010, 12 Member States had still either not implemented all the rules or not officially informed the Commission that the rules were in place as required. The Commission decided to send reasoned opinions to these Member States. So far the Commission has not used its power to refer Member States that have not taken any measures to implement the Directive to the EU's Court of Justice.
As readers may recall, the AVMS Directive (2007/65 EC) amends the Television Without Frontiers Directive (89/552/EEC) and extends certain regulation formerly reserved for traditional television broadcasting to cover new forms of video-on-demand type services.
The AVMS Directive also introduces new rules relating to subjects such as advertising, product placement and protection of children – which under the Directive apply to both traditional broadcasting and video on demand type services ("Audiovisual On-Demand Services"). Broadly, Audiovisual On-Demand Services cover a range of methods whereby an end-user can view 'programmes' from a catalogue at a time of their choosing – for example by downloading TV programmes online or via a cable TV service where videos can be downloaded onto a user's hard-drive recorder.