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ESC Media and Embargo Policy for Third Parties

Guidelines and regulations for Third Parties



Last update 2 April 2022

1. Introduction

This document is for scientists, authors, researchers, organisations, companies, sponsors, presenters, exhibitors (and their representatives or any other party acting on their behalf) and others with access to research accepted during an ESC event or related to an ESC publication (hereunder “Third Parties”).

There is a separate document which is specifically applicable to media representatives (media outlets, journalists and members of the press including, but not limited to, reporters for print, broadcast, and online media outlets). 

Embargo is a requirement set by the European Society of Cardiology (“ESC”) that the information or news determined by the ESC is not published or disseminated until a certain date or certain conditions have been met.

Third Parties are required to abide by the ESC Media and Embargo Policy (hereunder “the Policy”) and the related confidentiality obligation, with the aim of ensuring that no embargoed information is released prior to the ESC embargo lift.

The ESC believes that the Policy serves Third Parties and the public. It enables Third Parties to be aware of scientific materials ahead of presentation at an ESC event or publication within an ESC journal, to prepare for its release to coincide with the event or publication date/time. This helps to significantly reduce inaccuracies and prevents any unfair advantage.

All scientific presentations at an ESC event, including unpublished results presented in “Hot Lines”, “Late Breaking Science” and other session types - whether scheduled for oral presentation, poster, or in other forms - are embargoed until the scheduled start time of the presentation or the publication of a press release by the ESC.

ESC may release abstract text and ePosters prior to the scheduled session, in such a case the embargo is lifted at the time of this release.

Lead authors are responsible for notifying all authors and other relevant stakeholders - including sponsors - about the Policy.

2. ESC Media and Embargo Policy for Third Parties

A. Embargo

Information and materials subject to embargo (“hereinafter the “Embargoed Material”) comprise any ESC related news releases or statements, including press releases, summaries, abstracts, journal publications, research results, etc.

Third Parties must keep the Embargoed Material for their personal use and must not distribute or publish the Embargoed Material or any part of it, whilst the embargo is in effect. It is Third Parties' responsibility to ensure that they adhere to the time zone specified in the embargo.

Embargoed Material may be released only after the embargo is lifted by the ESC. Embargoed Material and in particular scientific information related to presentations at any event organised by the ESC are strictly confidential and cannot be presented or announced in any manner or for any purpose whatsoever prior to the embargo lift.

Third Parties are responsible for their actions related to ESC events and for any publication or press material containing results and information related to an ESC event.

For scientific contributions or other Embargoed Material that are covered at an ESC-embargoed press conference prior to presentation at an ESC event, only the presenter/lead author of the study and one co-author of the study may attend the press conference. The co-author’s name must be listed on the abstract. Only the presenter/lead author will be allowed on the panel (If presenter/lead author is not available – he can appoint his/her replacement who must be a co-author as listed).

Should circumstances arise in which the trial organisers are considering prior disclosure, total or in part, it is imperative that the ESC is consulted before dissemination (see section B).

Breaking of an ESC embargo by any Third Party is a contractual breach. The person/entity who released the information will be held accountable and will be subjected to the penalties listed in section D. 

The ESC Press Office must be informed about Third Party press events organised during an ESC event.

Beyond Embargoed Materiel detailed above, Third Parties cannot distribute press materials related to ESC events without prior written approval from the ESC Press Office. Any press material that Third Parties wish to release related to a presentation at an ESC event, must be sent electronically for review by the ESC Press Office at least two weeks before the diffusion.

B. ESC Rules on Early Disclosure of Information

Publicly traded companies may ask to disclose information submitted to an ESC event prior to the embargo lift. Public disclosure of scientific information prior to an ESC event may be recommended by legal counsel to comply with the requirements of a regulatory body in the country where the company’s stock is traded. If this occurs, the ESC may grant an exception to its embargo rules and allow the company to release limited information without jeopardising its eligibility for presentation at ESC events. The information released must comply with all the following rules:

  1. Information on the study design cannot include any data that are not publicly available.
  2. Results can only be disclosed on the primary endpoint, and only qualitative information can be presented (i.e., the primary endpoint was/was not met).
  3. Quantitative data on results are not allowed.
  4. No commentary or additional analyses are allowed.
  5. No investigator quotes are allowed.

Companies in this situation must notify the ESC Press Office at least one week in advance by sending a written request for an exception to the Policy. This request must specify the legal rationale as to why the information must be disclosed and detail exactly what information would be disclosed, who would receive the information, and how and when the information would be released.

If the ESC grants permission for limited results to be released, the press release must note that the abstract has been submitted (or accepted) for presentation at an ESC event. For guidance on such press releases, please contact the ESC Press Office.

The ESC will evaluate these requests on a case-by-case basis and reserves the right to change the type of presentationor remove it from the scientific programme if the released information is judged to substantially detract from the novelty of the presentation at the ESC event.

C. Photos, Audio/Video Recordings and Screenshots Rules

Unless expressly authorised, photos, audio/video recordings and screenshots are not allowed during an ESC event because:

  • Content is subject to intellectual property protection.
  • Image of individuals (faculty and participants) is subject to privacy rights.

This applies in particular to scientific presentations.

Third Parties may take photos or recordings only of their own industry sponsored sessions, meetings, and stand. No other photography or recording by Third Parties is allowed in any other place at any time.This includes activities of other exhibitors and scientific sessions.

Photographing and recording without permission will result in the violator(s) being barred from the event.

Third Parties organising press conferences, industry-sponsored sessions and/or meetings are responsible for protecting their content and enforcing their own photos, audio/video recordings and screenshots rules.

ESC trademarks and logos cannot be used, reproduced, or associated with any article, press release or Third Party content without prior written permission from the ESC.

D. Sanctions

In the event of a breach of any provision of the present Policy by any Third Party, the ESC reserves the right to immediately terminate permission given to any registered participant and/or their representatives to present at the ESC event.

In addition to termination, the ESC reserves the right to seek legal action or claim damages from the individual/entity liable for the breach of the Policy.

The ESC reserves the right to make the embargo breach public.

Furthermore, breaking the Policy is a contractual breach that may also lead to:

  • Immediate barring from the scientific programme and other congress activities.
  • Withdrawal of the abstract(s) from the scientific programme.
  • Temporary or permanent restrictions regarding future submission of scientific work.
  • Loss of accrued points (see ESC Exhibition Guidelines).
  • Any other additional measure deemed appropriate to preserve the rights of the ESC and its members.

In the event of a breach of any provision of the present Policy and the enforcement of one or more of the above-mentioned sanctions, any financial obligations to the ESC must be honoured.

The absence of sanction from the ESC does not constitute the ESC’s acceptance of the Third Party misconduct, and the ESC reserves the right to apply or relieve sanctions at any time.

3. Contact

If you have any questions relating to the Policy, please contact the ESC Press Office:

press@escardio.org or +33(0)4 89 87 20 75

The ESC does not make its press database or registration lists available to third parties.

4. Applicable Law

All matters arising from or connected with compliance to the Policy are governed by French Law, without reference to the conflict of laws principles. Any dispute shall be brought before the Court of Grasse, France.