Cross-border portability: Access to streaming services from abroad

You are on holiday but you cannot watch your favorite TV series on Netflix from abroad? The European Commission wants to fix this.

How did we get here?

The oldest of the norms regulating copyright in the EU was passed before the existence of YouTube, WhatsApp and Facebook. Copyright laws weren’t created for the digital age and the current (not fully harmonised) EU rules are from 2011. This proposal is the first step to change that. It is not the big reform the Commission announced earlier, but rather the appetizer of a whole menu of new copright rules

 

Why is this important for me?

It is very similiar to roaming. You are not at home, but you want to enjoy things as you were at home. In this case: Online content you paid for (in your home country). So this proposal is supposed to encourage you to travel and work from abroad. Plus: Wider availability will help to fight piracy and ensure a greater variety of content. For more evidence, have a look at the Commission's factsheet.

 

What's the content?

The EU's aspiring power couple responsible for the digital single market, Andrus Ansip (from digitally very progressive Estonia) and Günther Oettinger (from digitally rather retarded Germany) presented their proposal in December 2015. These two want Europeans, who buy or subscribe to films, music, e-books and games at home to be able to access them when they travel or work in other EU countries. Currently, they are often cut off from most streaming services as soon as they leave their home country.

Example: A Dutch subscriber travelling to France will only be able to watch films offered by Netflix to French consumers - so she can probably not see her favorite Dutch TV series.

This is called "cross-border portability" and it is not the same as "cross-border access" which means that users, from their home country, can access online services available in another Member State - always. The Commission wanted the right to portability to be only temporary since you cannot just sign up for a (cheaper) streaming service in - let's say - Cyprus and then permanently use it in Ireland.

Yet, MEPs were against a fixed time limit. In order to avoid abuse, they suggest users shall submit a proof of permanent residence in their member state when subscribing to an online service. They will then have access to the content in whatever member state they are. The member state of residence shall be verified with random checks via the subscriber's IP address, in order to avoid abuse. The new rules will mainly apply to streaming services that you have to pay for.

 

What's happening with this legislation in the future?

The European Parliament and the Council nearly finished the work on this issue. In the Parliament the Legal Affairs Committee agreed on its position in November 2016 and the Council agreed on a position in May 2016. Neogtiations between the institutions were wrapped up in early February 2017 with a provisional deal. The agreement was confirmed by a formal vote in the EP plenary in May 2017 and by the EU Council of Ministers in early June 2017.

Now the law only needs to be officially published. Member states will then have nine months to bring the new rules into force. As this is a regulation it is directly applicable across the EU and Member States do not need to adapt their laws. This means you will profit from the new rules in spring 2018!

 

Related Bills:

Eliminating roaming, securing net neutrality

Updated European data protection laws

New consumer rules for online shopping

politixNew visa rules for EU travellersReduced share of biofuels in energy mixFruit, vegetables and milk for European StudentsBan on all kind of driftnet fisheriesToo big to fail: Structural Reform of EU Banking SectorA European Platform to fight undeclared workA pan-European Pension System Fighting the trafficking of firearmsA New Waste Management System in the EUFinancial Transaction Tax: Making banks pay for the crisisLess Plastic Bags for EuropeEliminating roaming, securing net neutralityRight2Water: Water and sanitation as human rightEnforceable Flight Rights for Air PassengersPublic list of company owners to fight money launderingMore Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOsEuropean Solidarity CorpsTightened rules for safer and cleaner carsSafer Ship TravelsProtecting fish and marine ecosystemsUpdated European data protection laws Resettlement of Migrants in the EUSafety standards for new kinds of CablewaysCheaper cross-border Parcel DeliveryCross-border enforcement for speeding & traffic offencesEU-wide Minimum Standards for FrackingEuropean statistics relating to persons and householdsUpdated Rules for Audiovisual MediaNew Food Labeling RulesAccess to a Basic Bank Account for EveryoneA New Copyright Regime for EuropePollen as specific 'Ingredient' or Natural Honey Component?Circular Economy: Reducing waste in EuropeRules for cross-border divorcesBetter Management of Asylum FlowsAn Entry-Exit System for External European BordersResolution on Sexual and Reproductive HealthStronger Rules against Terrorism Financing and Money LaunderingCloning of animals New Rules for Tobacco Products and PackagingOrganic production and labelling of organic productsSimpler Rules for VAT in EcommerceLess Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EUUpdated rules on 'novel foods'Free Wi-Fi for EverybodyEnsure safe and secure air travelBetter Checks of EU Citizens at External BordersUse of Flight Passenger Data Posting of workersBetter Connectivity and super-fast InternetReduced Flush Volume for ToiletsNew rules on privacy in electronic communicationMinimum standards for children accused in courtMore Security in EU Partner CountriesBetter Cooperation among Consumer Protection AuthoritiesEuropass - Better online tools for your job huntStricter Rules for the Export of potentially Dangerous GoodsBetter Protection from Cancer at WorkStrategy Against Discrimination of LGBTI Persons Better protection for children of international couplesCreation of a European Union Agency for AsylumNew consumer rules when (online) shoppingProviding Services more easily across bordersA new electoral law for the European ParliamentBetter access to books for the blindBetter EU access for highly skilled workersMaking products & services more accessible for disabled peopleReducing pollutant emissions from carsConsumer rights for downloads and streaming services Improving the exchange of information on criminalsGeoblocking: Less consumer discrimination onlineBetter energy labels on electronic productsUpdated energy efficiency rulesA European ESTABetter protection for your moneyEuropean Year of Cultural Heritage 2018Creating a European Border and Coast GuardWork-Life Balance for allMore renewable energyEmpowering electricity consumersReducing administrative burden for EU citizens