European Commission ends geo-blocking

EU and country flags - Wikimedia CommonsThe European Commission adopted a new Digital Single Market Strategy which aims to improve consumer access to digital services and goods. Among other things, Europe vows to end geo-blocking and lift other unwarranted copyright restrictions.

It will enable video distributions like NetFlix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Instant Video to roll out across the bloc.

These geo-blocking practices have been a thorn in the side of the European Commission, who now plan to abolish these restrictions altogether.

Among other things the Commission plans “to end unjustified geo-blocking,” which it describes as “a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons.”

President Jean-Claude Juncker wants every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market – wherever they are in Europe.

A key element on the new strategy is a modern and more European copyright law. The Commission notes that the legislative proposals to achieve this will follow before the end of the year.

Under the revamped copyright law it should be easier for consumers to access and enjoy content online. This means that consumers will have the right to access content they purchased at home in other European countries.

One thing which is amusing is the comments from the Commission that “various industries” need to adapt to the new realities of the digital age. In other words the music and movie industry needs to take its trotter out of its own back-end.

Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society Günther Oettinger said that Europe had strengths to build on, but also homework to do.

“It has to make sure its industries adapt, and its citizens make full use of the potential of new digital services and goods. We have to prepare for a modern society and will table proposals balancing the interests of consumers and industry,” he adds.

Now we just have to cue the backlash from the movie and music dinosaurs as they try to protect their rights to their extra swimming pools.