HomeInsightsEuropean Parliament adopts Regulation on portability of online content

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The new Regulation would mean that EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV would be able to access their content while temporarily in another EU country.

At the moment, citizens visiting another EU country are often prevented from accessing online content such as films and TV series, which they have paid for in their home country.

The new Regulation was approved by Parliament by 586 votes to 34, with 8 abstentions. The text was previously agreed with Council negotiators in February 2017. It will remove restrictions so that EU citizens can use online services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Deezer while in another EU country for holidays, studies or business.

Under the new rules, online content service providers will be able to take “effective and reasonable” measures to verify that the subscriber has not permanently moved to another EU country as required copyright licenses may differ between countries. A list of permissible methods for verification purposes includes identity cards, payment details, public tax information, postal address details or IP address checks. Service providers will have to ensure that any processing of personal data is proportionate and introduce safeguards, especially for IP address checks.

The new rules will only apply to online fee-based services, but providers of free services will also be able to make their content portable EU-wide provided they comply with the requirements relating to residency checks.

The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. Member states will then have nine months from the date of entry into force of the Regulation to bring the new rules into force. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.