Menu
Abolish geoblocking? Not so fast, says EU digital Commissioner

Abolish geoblocking? Not so fast, says EU digital Commissioner

The EU needs to pay attention to the interests of the film industry, Commissioner Oettinger said

The European Commission last week announced it plans to eliminate geoblocking in order to let everyone in the European Union tune in to the same movies at the same time and allow more cross-border shopping. One of the EU's digital Commissioners, though, has spoken out against a fast reform.

Quickly abolishing barriers that prevent EU citizens from streaming movies or TV shows is not the way to go, said Günther Oettinger, commissioner for digital economy and society, in an interview with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published on Monday.

"We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater," he told the newspaper, adding that he first wants to determine what the elimination of geoblocking will mean for the film industry. The EU needs to preserve its cultural diversity, he said, adding that he wants to make sure little parties will not suffer while big parties benefit.

With his statements, Oettinger, who heads the EU's copyright reform, distanced himself from Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, who last week confessed that deep in his heart, he hates geoblocking.

Ansip on Wednesday unveiled plans by the Commission on how to proceed with the EU's Digital Single Market strategy. One of the key elements in that strategy is tackling geoblocking.

Showing the Commission will take the issue seriously, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on Thursday announced she is planning to start a competition inquiry into cross-border trading by companies such as Amazon.com, in particular into technical barriers such as geoblocking preventing EU consumers from shopping across borders.

Asked which of the two views reflects the view of the Commission as a whole, Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva on Monday was quick to point out that both Ansip and Oettinger mean to strike the right balance among different interests.

Ansip for instance has said that there could be exceptions, for instance when geoblocking is necessary to respect national laws such as those that forbid online gambling in certain countries.

The Commission wants to ban frequent excessive restrictions, though, and ensure the full portability of legally acquired content so that people are able to access the services they have paid for in their home country when they are abroad. That needs to be done while safeguarding the value of rights in the film sector, the Commission said

An impact assessment of the different options is being prepared to ensure the Commission's action will deliver the greatest economic and societal benefits, it added.

A more detailed strategy for the EU's Digital Single Market is set to be published in May.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationlegislationeuropean commission

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments