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Brussels, 22nd March, 2002

Conditional access services: Commission decides to refer Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain to Court of Justice

The European Commission has decided to refer Belgium, Greece Luxembourg and Spain to the European Court of Justice for failure to notify national measures to implement Directive 98/84 on the legal protection of conditional access services. Conditional access services are television, radio and on-line services offered to the public at a distance and subject to payment.

The Directive requires Member States to introduce measures to prohibit and provide appropriate sanctions against activities such as the sale of pirate decoders, smart cards and software. It also prohibits Member States from invoking "anti-piracy" grounds to restrict the free movement of legitimate services and conditional access devices originating in another Member State.

The Directive entered into force on 28 November 1998 and the deadline for Member States to implement it into national law was 28 May 2000.

Until now, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg and Spain have still not notified to the Commission all the necessary implementing measures. Neither have they indicated whether such measures will be taken in the foreseeable future.

Information on current infringement proceedings against Member States is available on the Europa website at:

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