Watching online films and TV while abroad

EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV will soon be able to access their content while temporarily in another EU country.

  • access to online subscription content while in another EU-country
  • checks on permanent residence of the user to avoid copyright breaches
  • safeguards for users’ data protection and privacy

Citizens visiting another EU country are often prevented from accessing online content such as films, TV series, music, games, or sporting events, which they have paid for in their home country. The new rules, approved by Parliament on Thursday — and previously agreed with Council negotiators in February 2017 — will remove restrictions so that EU citizens can use online services such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Spotify, Deezer while in another EU country for holidays, studies or business.

The new rules were adopted by 586 votes to 34, with 8 abstentions.

Residence check and data protection

Online content service providers may 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 must ensure that any processing of personal data is proportionate and must introduce safeguards, especially for IP address checks.

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

Quote

“European citizens have been waiting for these new rules, which represent a step towards a common digital market. The news rules increase mobility and successfully offer portability to users of European online content, without affecting copyright”, said the rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada (ALDE, FR).

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Source: The European Parlament

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