Breakthrough for online TV and music subscribers
Subscribers to services such as Sky Now TV and Netflix will soon be able watch programmes while abroad following a vote today backed by ECR MEPs.
The European Parliament has passed legislation allowing subscribers to view online when in another EU Member State. At present they are blocked from logging on while abroad.
The ruling, which also covers music streaming services like Spotify and online game marketplaces, will apply to people who are “temporarily” outside their home country, for instance for holidays, business trips or short study periods. To prevent abuse, service providers will verify a subscriber’s permanent residence through a variety of methods such as payments details, an internet contract and IP address checks.
Free services such a BBC i-player will be able to opt into the regulation if they can reliably check their users’ usual address.
The new rules come into force early next year.
ECR Legal Affairs co-ordinator Sajjad Karim helped steer the report through Parliament as a shadow rapporteur.
He said: “This is a key element of the digital single market. It is absolutely right that subscribers should be able to access services they have paid for while on holiday or working abroad for a short period.
“At the same time it is equally important to protect rights holders. It has been a difficult balance strike but I believe this legislation achieves that.
“People can now look forward to being able to watch their favourite programmes, even when they are out of the country.”