On November 29, 2017, permanent representatives of EU Member States reached an agreement with the European Parliament on a draft regulation to ban unjustified geo-blocking. The agreement, which still needs final adoption by the EU Council and the European Parliament, will remove barriers to e-commerce by avoiding discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment.
At present, only 15% of Europeans purchase products from online shops based in other EU countries. One of the reasons is due to ‘geo-blocking’. The regulation will prevent discrimination for consumers and companies on access to prices, sales or payment conditions when purchasing products and services in another EU country. Once it comes into force, the geo-blocking regulation will supplement other landmark achievements such as the end of roaming charges for people using mobile phones in the EU and the introduction of cross-border portability for online subscriptions.
Services where the main feature is the provision of access to and use of copyright protected content, or the selling of copyright protected works in an intangible form, such as music streaming services, e-books, online games and software, will be excluded from the scope of the regulation.
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