Italian public broadcaster RAI has lost its appeal against a court ruling that it should stop encrypting its services on satellite.
RAI had encrypted a number of programmes including newscasts and the Italian national football team’s matches on Sky Italia’s platform. The country’s highest court, the Council of State, has now upheld a 2012 ruling by the Lazio regional court that it should make its content available in a technology-neutral way.
The Council of State upheld the ruling that RAI, as a public broadcaster, should make its programming available in a non-discriminatory way, citing the fact that Skysubscribers also paid the mandatory licence fee.
The courts found that RAI’s distribution on the free-to-air TivùSat platform, a joint venture between RAI, Mediaset and Telecom Italia Media was not sufficient to meet the technology-neutral requirement as it did not have univeral reach.
Sky Italia pointed out that RAI had rejected a 2009 offer of €350 million (US$460 million) for the rights to broadcast its premium channels, and that RAI began encrypting some of its free-to-air services soon after that.
The Council of State also criticised the role played by regulator AGCOM, which accepted the distribution of RAI on TivùSat as sufficient to meet its obligations.