Broadcast of TV channels
Legal aspects of the regulation of hotel activities in the field of television broadcasting (broadcast TV channels).
1. What is “cable television” under Ukrainian law?
As a rule, the term “cable television” is understood as providing subscribers with the opportunity to view several TV channels that are delivered via one cable. Such a cable is a multichannel television network, and the aggregate of TV channels supplied to the subscriber on the network is a “software package”.
Thus, under the term “cable television” used in everyday life, the law implies providing subscribers with packages of various TV programs using the resources of multi-channel TV networks.
2. Who can distribute software packages in hotel cable networks?
Due to the law, only so-called software service providers have the right to distribute software packages in multichannel networks (including hotel networks). The essence of the activity of providers is reduced to the formation of packages from several TV channels and their delivery through a multichannel television network to the subscribers of cable television.
Thus, to obtain the right to legally distribute packets of TV programs in hotel multi-channel networks, it is necessary to obtain the status of a software service provider.
3. Are there any exceptions in which the distribution of programs is possible not by the software service providers?
Yes, in some cases, subscribers’ access to programs can also be provided by non-software service providers. For example, the operation of systems for collective reception of TV programs can be provided by operators or telecommunications providers that do not have the status of a software service provider.
But at the same time it should be borne in mind that the activity on provision of services for the collective reception of TV programs in the legislation is not clearly regulated. At the same time, today’s judicial practice follows the principle that a collective reception system can not operate multi-channel networks. An example of a collective reception system is a collective antenna that receives a television signal and distributes it between all the TV receivers connected to it.
In this regard, the question of whether a cable television system installed in a hotel can be considered as a “collective reception system” for which a license is not needed is assessed individually in each case.
4. Does the hotel need to become a software service provider to deliver programs to its residents on a multi-channel network?
The law determines that any distribution of software packages in multichannel networks can only be performed by software service providers. There are no exceptions for hotels in the legislation. Moreover, the fact that the distribution of programs of hotels is carried out by software service providers is also mentioned in some resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers (Decree No.412 of December 13, 2011).
On the other hand, the program itself may be extended not by the hotel itself, but by third parties with whom the hotel will have a corresponding agreement. Of course, such a third party should still have the status of a software service provider.
5. How to become a software service provider?
The activity of the software service provider is possible only after obtaining an appropriate license. The license is issued by the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting.
6. What is the license fee for obtaining a license for a software service provider?
For obtaining a license of a software service provider that will provide services to subscribers in limited areas (sanatoria, hotels, boarding houses, etc.), it is necessary to pay a license fee of five minimum wages.
The license is issued for a period of 10 years.
7. What rights does the license of the software service provider give?
The license of the software service provider entitles you to retranslate a specific list of TV programs in its own network. The TV program is selected by the provider independently, but under any circumstances it is obliged to include in their list all the terrestrial TV channels.
The final list of channels that the provider provides to its subscribers is approved by the National Council of Ukraine for Television and Radio Broadcasting, and is included in the license.
8. What else is needed, in addition to the provider’s license, for the legal distribution of TV programs in the hotel cable network?
For the legal distribution of TV programs one license provider software service is not enough. In addition to it you need to conclude licensing agreements with each of the TV channels, according to which the provider gets the right to retransfer their programs in the hotel networks. From this rule there are exceptions: the retransmission of TV channels that are present on TV is carried out without a contract with the channels. To do this, only the provider’s license itself is sufficient.