On 13 October 2011, the ECJ rendered its preliminary ruling in the satellite television case of Airfield v Agicoa. The court ruled that a satellite package provider (SPP) (in this case, Airfield) was required to obtain authorisation from copyright holders for its intervention in the direct and indirect transmission of television programmes. The exception is where copyright holders have agreed with the broadcasting organisation that protected works will be communicated to the public through the SPP, provided that the SPP does not allow the works to be accessed by a wider audience (a “new public”).  

It will now be up to the Brussels court of appeal to apply these rules to the facts in the case of Airfield.