Magill

Refers to a famous 1995 European Court of Justice decision (Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ) and Independent Television Publications Ltd. (ITP) v. Commission, Joined Cases C-241/91 P and C-242/91 P), upholding an earlier 1989 decision by the European Commission (Magill TV Guides 1989 OJ L 7 8/43) in an essential facilities case and compulsory license case.

In the case Magill, an Irish magazine, wished to publish a comprehensive weekly program guide in competition with the guides in magazine format (TVGuide, RTEGuide) available from the broadcasters then covering the Republic of Ireland, i.e., the BBC, RTE (Radio Telefís Éireann), and ITV (Independent Television). However, the programmers only made their schedule information available to newspapers subject to a publishing embargo that meant they could only publish daily schedules on the day of broadcast (with two days’ schedules on Saturday).

The European Commission ordered the broadcasters to make the schedules available to their competitor as an essential facility, and since the Irish High Court had upheld the broadcasters’ claim of copyright in the schedules (albeit a claim some commentators regarded as dubious), thereby compelled a license of the copyright in the schedules. Although regarded as a major precedent in compulsory licensing, Magill has not been frequently applied.