The European Court of Justice on July 14 ruled that a French radio and television broadcaster would have to pay royalties in Germany where it has a transmitter.

BRUSSELS (The Hollywood Reporter) -- The European Court of Justice on July 14 ruled that a French radio and television broadcaster would have to pay royalties in Germany where it has a transmitter.

The Luxembourg-based court ruled that, as one of Lagardere Active Broadcast's radio satellite receiver-transmitters is located across the border in Felsberg, Germany, it must pay royalties to the German collecting societies because the broadcasts could be received by German audiences.

The broadcasts are exclusively in French and only intended for audiences in France.

"The ruling is eminently sensible," said Tom Rivers, legal advisor to the Assn. of Commercial Television in Europe. "It means that if you choose to set up any sort of transmitter in any country, you have to accept liabilities under that country's law."

The court itself said European Union-wide rules on broadcasting did not alter national jurisdiction over royalty collection, so the Germans were entitled to ask for royalties.