On 9 December 2015, the European Commission has proposed new
rules concerning content portability across the so-called Digital
Single Market. Under the first set of proposals, which will need to
be discussed with and endorsed by the European Parliament and the
Council of the European Union, Europeans will be able to access
online services they have subscribed to at home and content they
have previously purchased or rented while (temporarily) travelling
in other EU countries. The proposals will be outlined in greater
depth next year.
At present, Europeans travelling to another Member State
frequently cannot access content from online services they have
subscribed to or acquired at home (i.e. the content is not
'portable'). For example, a German user of Netflix who
travels to the UK will only be able to access the content that the
video streaming service offers in Britain. Thus, in the eyes of the
Commission, "the range of online content available in
one's home country does not reflect the breadth of Europe's
cultural production and legal content offers online of European
works are still far from realising their full potential."
The Commission believes that various trends justify the need for
the EU to act on content portability including the projected growth
of online content services, notably legal subscription-based
services, and the high interest in cross-border portability
expressed by young Europeans. In order to allow for wider online
access to works by users across the EU, the Commission will
consider legislative proposals for adoption in spring 2016
enhancing cross-border distribution of television and radio
supporting right holders and distributors to reach agreement on
licences that allow for cross-border access to content
making it easier to digitize out-of-commerce works and make
The proposals have raised concerns among TV and film-makers and
rights holders who fear that allowing pan-European access will
undermine the ability to sell content in multiple markets. For
example, according to The Guardian, representatives of the Premier
League have raised concerns that without a clear time period
defining how long someone can be abroad and continue to access
their services, consumers could look to buy subscriptions where
they are cheapest in the European Union." The Commission seems
to have taken these concerns into consideration stating that
the new rules on content portability will need to be balanced with
the readiness of markets to respond rapidly to legal and policy
changes and the need to ensure viable financing models for those
who are primarily responsible for content creation.
Tags: Content Portability, Digital Single Market,
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