The US film studio Paramount Pictures has offered to scale back territorial restrictions on content sold to broadcasters in the European Union in response to a competition probe, the bloc's executive said Friday.
In July, the European Commission launched an investigation into six major US film studios and the British pay-TV broadcaster Sky UK, over concerns that they were violating EU competition rules by preventing other European viewers from accessing content shown in Britain.
Licensing agreements between Sky UK and Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros appeared to be part of the problem because they require Sky UK to limit access to films through geo-blocking, the commission found at the time.
Paramount has now offered to lift this obligation on Sky UK or other pay-TV broadcasters, meaning they would no longer have to block access to its films when approached by consumers located in a different EU country, the commission said Friday.
However, national copyright rules may create an additional barrier for consumers wanting to access cross-border pay-TV content in the EU. The bloc's executive is working to revise copyright rules, in order to remove such restrictions.
The commission on Friday invited competitors and other stakeholders to evaluate the concessions offered by Paramount, before deciding whether to accept them.
Its inquiry into the five other film studios is still ongoing. Companies that violate the EU's strict antitrust rules can be fined up to 10 per cent of their global turnover.