Spain eyes EU for 5% solution

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The Spanish Supreme Court has asked the European Community's Superior Court to rule on whether Spain's present law requiring private broadcasters to invest 5% of their overall revenues in Spanish film,violates any EU directives.

The court's request, made public Thursday, came in re-sponse to a 2004 complaint filed by the Union of Associated Commercial Television (UTECA) concerning the 1999 Audiovisual Law that obliges broadcasters to earmark 5% of revenues for the local production sector.

The Spanish court has requested that the EU authority clarify three specific questions regarding EU legislation before making its own ruling on the legality of the so-called 5% law.

Broadcasters celebrated the news that Luxembourg will study the matter.

"The Supreme Court's decision (to refer to the EU court) supports the thesis maintained by UTECA since 1999," UTECA said in a statement. "Thus, any other law — called Film or Audiovisual — that forces the same issue would suffer the same defects."

The Spanish government presently has a controversial film law on the table that would reinforce the 5% obligation, which has been bitterly fought by private broadcasters, who call it illegal and interference in the market.

"UTECA reiterates its will to continue supporting the Spanish film industry from a business perspective, without impositions of any kind and on a flat playing field," the organization said.

Spanish producers lobby FAPAE, the main proponent of the 5% requirement, had no comment on the court's decision.
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