Today the European Parliament approved a new regulation that will ban unjustified geo-blocking in the internal market. One small step in the right direction according to MEP Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66).
MEP Marietje Schaake: ““From now on European consumers will face less obstacles when they buy things online in a shop from a different EU Member State. Companies can’t reroute consumers anymore without notifying them, for instance. This is a victory for the consumer and it will give a boost to e-commerce in the EU.”
It’s time to abolish geoblocking for video
MEP Schaake: “We are not there yet. It is a pity that no agreement could be reached on including copyrighted material, such as e-books, e-music, video games or e-films in the scope of this regulation. Only when that happens we will have truly abolished geoblocking in the digital single market.”
Under the new approved rules, traders will not be able to discriminate between customers with regard to the general terms and conditions –including prices– in three cases. These are where the trader:
- sells goods that are delivered in a member state to which the trader offers delivery or are collected at a location agreed upon with the customer;
- provides electronically supplied services such as cloud services, data warehousing services, website hosting and the provision of firewalls;
- provides services which are received by the customer in the country where the trader operates, such as hotel accommodation, sports events, car rental, or entry tickets to music festivals or leisure parks.
Unlike price discrimination, price differentiation will not be prohibited, so traders are free to offer different general conditions, including prices, and to target certain groups of customers in specific territories.
Moreover, traders will not be obliged to deliver goods to customers outside the member state to which they offer delivery.
Other geoblocking-related mesaures
- Last year the EU already approved new rules that will allow users to enjoy their online film subscriptions (such as Netflix) when travelling in the EU the same way they do at home. (See: Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market.)
- The EU is also currently negotiating the overhaul of the satellite and cable directive, which would require broadcasters to make online news programmes available for people to view online anywhere in the EU.