Following the news that Netflix has begun restricting VPN use to bypass its region locks, the UK government has initiated a public consultation regarding European Union proposals to outlaw all forms of geoblocking across all member states.
“The European Commission has recently published draft legislation that is intended to ensure that all digital services are portable within the European Union,” the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) consultation file on “cross-border portability” legislation reads [PDF]. “This would mean that a person who lives in the UK, and who subscribes to a digital content service there, would be able to be confident they can continue to access that service when they are elsewhere in the EU, provided they have the right level of internet connection.”
The IPO report suggests that the UK fully supports the EU proposal, saying, “The Government supports cross-border portability, and the Prime Minister welcomed these proposals on the day of their launch. We will now be working with other European partners to negotiate the detail of the Regulations so that they deliver the best outcome for businesses and consumers.”
How this proposal will affect the licensing deals negotiated by video-on-demand streaming services, such as Netflix, is yet to be determined. “It is currently difficult to provide portability for some types of content because of territorial copyright agreements which govern where services can be accessed,” the IPO report adds.
The EU’s proposal to outlaw geoblocking follows its recent antitrust investigation into content providers restricting its content dependent on location within Europe.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia.