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European Commission votes for content portability

Providers must verify user’s member state of residence, and make the home country content available when a user logs in at an IP address in a different EU country

The European Commission has ruled that citizens will be able to access online services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify while in other member countries.

Under the new system, providers must verify the user’s member state of residence instead, and make the home country content available even when a user logs in at an IP address in a different EU country.

The preliminary regulation has been refined and amended to the final version, which has now been ratified by the Commission. Data protection and privacy safeguards, especially for IP address checks, have been added. The Commission has also tightened the definition of ‘temporary presence’ in a different member state, and now refers to a limited time period.

Andrus Ansip, vice president in charge of the Digital Single Market, said that the agreement will bring concrete benefits to Europeans, and “this is an important step in breaking down barriers in the Digital Single Market.”

The online service providers who will be mandated to make their services available include VoD platforms (Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Mubi, Chili TV), online TV services (Viasat’s Viaplay, Sky’s Now TV, Voyo), music streaming services (Spotify, Deezer, Google Music) and game online marketplaces (Steam, Origin).

The new rules on content portability must now be formally confirmed by the European Council and Parliament, and are expected to take effect in early 2018. Providers and rights holders will be given a nine-month period to prepare for the change.