MEPs say the geo-blocking of online access to goods and services on the basis of their IP address, postal address or the country of issue of credit cards is unjustified and it must stop.
“Europe has already missed two waves of innovation. First social networks, then the sharing economy. If we don’t want to miss the next wave, we have to look to the Internet of Things, Big Data and machine-to-machine communication. They can radically transform our economy and our legislation needs to reflect that,” said Industry Committee co-rapporteur Kaja Kallas.
The BBC has previously indicated that it will allow UK Licence Fee payers to access the iPlayer when travelling overseas, and subscription services can be expected to follow a similar route.
The ruling doesn’t appear to mean that a broadcaster would be forced to sell a subscription to a consumer permenantly living outside the area where they had licensed the majority of their content.
Welcoming the ruling the EBU Head of European Affairs Nicola Frank said the parliamnent was asking to maintain some well established rules: “We will be closely following how the European Commission follows up on these proposals, in particular the revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the further assessment of the 1993 Satellite and Cable Directive to improve cross-border access to legal online content and services, and the elaboration of a long-term strategy for radio spectrum based on the conclusions by Pascal Lamy.”
The EBU said the parliament’s culture committee had also flagged up the importance of lists of major sports and entertainment events which should be available on free-to-air television as a matter of general interest, as well as the need to safeguard the integrity of digital content.