The European Parliament today passed new regulations that will ensure that Europeans who buy or subscribe to online content services are able to access them when they travel in other EU countries. Services like Netflix and Spotify will now be obliged to enable cross-border portability of their services for subscribers traveling within the European Union.

This must be the first of multiple steps towards abolishing digital borders in Europe, not the last, several interest groups today demand in an open letter to the EU institutions.

The letter is signed by representatives of language minorities, students, startup companies and European federalists, as well as co-chairs of two related intergroups in the European Parliament, Josep-Maria Terricabras, co-chair of the Intergroup for Traditional Minorities, National Communities and Languages, and myself, as co-chair of the Digital Agenda Intergroup.

The letter states:

Geoblocking is discrimination. It undermines the development of a common European public sphere. Tweet this!

Geoblocking locks audiences out from much of Europe’s cultural diversity and locks artists into national borders. It is especially painful for speakers of minority languages, and negatively affects expat workers, exchange students, language learners, startup companies and many more.

The measures currently planned fall far short of making the error “This content is not available in your country” a thing of the past where Europeans most encounter it: When trying to access online video content.

Abolishing physical borders between member states has always been a core purpose of the European Union. On the internet, there is even less justification for artificially created geographical barriers. We must follow through with abolishing geoblocking in the EU to further the European project and complete the Digital Single Market.

Signatories:

To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

My name is Julia, I'm the Pirate in the European Parliament.

I'm fighting to make copyright in the EU unified, progressive and fit for the future. Will you join me?

2 comments

  1. 1

    I think the adopted proposal makes geoblocking worse. Today, I can at least enjoy works from other countries when I am located in another country. I live near a tri-border area and do cross borders almost daily or weekly. Next year, I shall be forced into a ‘home country’ bubble and cannot escape it anymore. Rather than reducing borders, which is what geoblocking is based on, you will be surrounded by a personal border all the time, effectively extending geoblocking to wherever you are located.

    • Christopher Clay

      Julia has specifically fought for you being able to access works from BOTH countries when you’re traveling:

      Article 3 (1a): 1a. [The rule] shall be without prejudice to the possibility for a service provider to enable a subscriber also to access and use the content licensed to the service provider for the Member State in which the subscriber is temporarily present.

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