The European Parliament voted 557 to 89 on Tuesday in favour of a regulation that bans geo-blocking for most types of online content. However some digital media including Netflix and Amazon are exempt.
The move is set to widen access to many online services, including shopping, travel bookings, hotel reservations and car rentals, within the European Union, where many companies continue to use geo-blocking to restrict their content nationally.
However, copyrighted material, including video streaming platforms, computer games and e-books, are exempt, a decision Europe’s primary consumer rights organisations have sharply criticised. The EU is however obliged to assess whether to lift these exemptions in 2020.
Last December the European Parliament dealt a blow to the Digital Single Market (DSM) by rejecting most of the European Commission’s SatCab regulation.
As previously reported by Broadband TV News, in November 2016 the European Council agreed a draft regulation to ban unjustified geo-blocking of content between member states.
Then in May 2017, the EP approved measures allowing the portability of online content. However, this was limited to online services which viewers have paid for in their home country and did not include cross-border reception of satellite-delivered services.
In November, the EU’s Legal Committee bowed to pressure from broadcasters on the geo-blocking of streaming services.