VG Media wins Case against Sol-Melia Hotel Chain

Span­ish Tri­bunal Supre­mo con­firms oblig­a­tion for hotels to pay a license fee to broad­cast­ers for TV in guest rooms – The judge­ment is final

Press Release
Berlin, 2019-02-15

The col­lect­ing soci­ety VG Media which rep­re­sents more than 70 international TV broad­cast­ers wins case against “Sol Melia” hotel chain before the high­est Span­ish court, the Tri­bunal Supre­mo. The judge­ment now con­firmed that a license was indeed required for retrans­mis­sion of TV pro­gram sig­nals in guest rooms of hotels. As a result, the pro­tract­ed copy­right dis­pute between VG Media and the Span­ish hotel chain was final­ly resolved. Since cable retrans­mis­sion is har­monised with­in EU, this judg­ment will have an impact on hotels in all EU mem­ber states.

With its deci­sion of 19 Decem­ber 2018, the High­est Span­ish Court ulti­mate­ly dis­missed the appeal lodged by Span­ish hotel chain “Sol Melia”. Thus, the Audi­en­cia Provin­cial Civ­il de Madrid judge­ment of 1 Feb­ru­ary 2016 in favour of col­lect­ing soci­ety VG Media is now final.

This judge­ment

  • found that the sued hotel chain infringes TV broad­cast­ers‘ rights rep­re­sent­ed by VG Media by retrans­mit­ting pro­gram sig­nals in their hotels;
  • pro­hibits the hotel chain from con­tin­u­ing to retrans­mit pro­gram sig­nals with­out a valid license;
  • deter­mined that Sol Melia is liable to pay com­pen­sa­tion for usages as of 2004.

The deci­sion cre­ates legal cer­tain­ty in a fun­da­men­tal copy­right issue. Con­se­quent­ly, VG Media now seeks a con­trac­tu­al solu­tion with Span­ish hotels retrans­mit­ting international TV sig­nals in their guest rooms.

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