EU Legislation Eases Restrictions on Online Media Geoblocking
Ron Perillo / 3 years ago
The European Parliament is finalizing legislation which is allowing EU citizens with paid subscription for online media including music, films, games, movies and TV shows to access the content while in another EU country temporarily. The key word here is “paid subscription” so it only applies to services that consumers are paying for, including satellite, cable and digital services related to it. This ruling unfortunately does not apply to online streaming services that applies IP-based geoblocking such as YouTube. On the other hand, the ruling may have an interesting effect on NetFlix since it is a fee-based service, therefore subject to the ruling and NetFlix allows users to share the account with up to four people, without restriction on where those other people are located.
The legislation also allows online content service providers to take “reasonable and proportionate measures” to verify the EU country of residence of the subscriber, which could include verification via public tax information, IP address check, postal address details, electronic identification, and payment details. However, service providers are required to inform customers of the verification method used. The new rules await to be formally approved by the Legal Affairs Committee, the EU parliament as a whole and the Council.
The ruling applies to all new subscribers and retroactively to all current subscribers as well. Member of European Parliament Jean-Marie Cavada said “The quality of the discussions between the institutions has led to this satisfying agreement that will benefit all EU-citizens but also service providers, right holders and creators. This signifies very important progress in the context of the Single Market.”