Two days ago, EU negotiators agreed on new rules allowing Europeans to travel and enjoy online content services across borders.
It all started back in December 2015 when the European Commission proposed a Regulation to broaden access to online content for travelers in the EU. It was the first legal proposal of the Digital Single market strategy, which was completed in September 2016 by modern EU copyright rules to increase cultural diversity in Europe and content available online, while bringing clearer rules for all online players.
Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip commented: “People who have subscribed to their favorite series, music and sports events at home will be able to enjoy them when they travel in Europe. This is a new important step in breaking down barriers in the Digital Single Market.”
The future regulation will enable consumers to access their online content services when they travel in the EU the same way they access them at home.
Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, said: “Digital technologies provide new opportunities to enjoy cultural content on the go, and people are eager to use them. Today’s agreement opens new doors to citizens while at the same time protecting creators and those investing in the production of cultural or sports content. This balanced solution is an encouraging sign for our efforts to build a Digital Single Market that offers new opportunities for both creators and consumers.” (source:European Commission)
If we look back in 2016, 64% of Europeans used the internet to play or download games, images, films or music. One in three Europeans wanted cross-border portability according to a survey carried out in 2015. Half of the people aged between 15 and 39 years old thought that portability and accessing the service they subscribe to when traveling in Europe is important.
Now, all providers who offer paid online content services will have to follow the new rules. The ones providing services without payment (such as the online services of public TV or radio broadcasters) will have the possibility to decide and also provide portability to their subscribers. The online content service providers like Netflix or Spotify will verify the subscriber’s country of residence by using means such as payment details, the existence of an internet contract or by checking the IP address. (source:European Commission)
The rules will become applicable in all EU Member States by a beginning of 2018 as the Regulation grants providers and right holders a 9 month period to prepare for the application of the new rules.
We are anxious to see what will come next! One thing is sure, these rules will reflect new ways in which Europeans will be able to enjoy culture and entertainment services online when they travel around the EU.