EU aims to remove geoblocking of online content

Soon, when traveling in the European Union, the Europeans will be able to fully enjoy their subscriptions to websites offering movies, sport events, e-books, games or music. This will be possible thanks to the new rules package modernizing the copyright law of the EU, presented by the Commission in framework of digital single market.

Thanks to the new law when traveling in the EU, consumers will be able to use purchased online services in terms of content in the same way as they do in their home country. For example, when a resident of France buys subscription to series and movies at Canal +, he will be able to enjoy movies and series available in France while on holiday in Croatia or business trip to Denmark. Providers of online services in terms of content, such as Netflix, Spotify or MyTF1 will check in which country the subscriber lives using the details provided for payment, his contract for Internet supply or IP address.

The new rules will apply to all paid services in the field of online content. Also providers offering free content (such as public broadcasters or radio) will be able to offer its users the opportunity to move the content.

The agreed law must now be endorsed by the EU Council and the European Parliament. If these rules are adopted, they will be applied in all EU Member States since the beginning of 2018 because the regulation gives service providers and right holders nine months to prepare for application of the new law.

The next step will be to open up the digital market, enabling for instance a user living in Italy to subscribe to any service available in any EU country. Yet, this improvement is encountering strong opposition from the TV and movie industry which have long enjoyed a divided digital market in Europe where it has been allowed to negotiate rights on a country-by-country basis.

Anna Ch

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