Konstantina Bania | Journal of Competition Law & Economics
In recent years, buzz terms such as “geo-blocking”, “online content portability”, and “digital copyright” have been making rounds in EU policy circles. This is largely attributed to the “Digital Single Market Strategy”, an ambitious reform the objective of which is to ensure seamless cross-border access to online services. Pursuit of this objective appears to be largely driven by the assumption that limiting the exclusivity of copyright would stimulate intra-Union competition in content markets. Against the background of EU competence limitations in the field of copyright and the increasing popularity of global U.S. firms in European audiovisual markets, this paper argues that EU Competition Law has vainly been instrumentalized to complete a single market for content. More particularly, based on legal and policy developments, which appear to challenge widespread licensing practices, sector-specific economics, and the case law that sets the conditions under which competition enforcement may introduce limits to copyright protection, this study develops the following twofold argument: in an attempt to create a single market for copyright-protected broadcast content, the EU has stretched the boundaries of competition law in an excessive manner and such unjustified interference with copyright is simply inadequate to promote competition and market integration.