Van Bossuyt: Geo-blocking proposals could reduce consumer choice

Apr 25, 2017


Independent music labels, e-book publishers and computer game creators could be hit by new European Parliament proposals intended to protect consumers.

ECR MEPs are concerned at the inclusion of copyrighted material bought online in a report approved today by the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee.

It means that small publishers producing books in languages such as Flemish, which do not have a wide audience and who rely on country specific pricing to remain competitive and encourage investment, would find their business models upset, placing at risk continued cultural diversity across Europe.

The draft proposals also mean that music retailers such as Spotify and i-Tunes, which typically sell music more cheaply in some Eastern European countries, would be forced to sell at the same price to anyone logging onto the Eastern European services from Britain or Germany. As a consequence, prices could be forced up in less affluent markets.

Flemish MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt, ECR shadow rapporteur for the report, said: “Demanding that these retailers offer the same price in every market could have the unintended effect of forcing some specialist content creators out of business, so reducing consumer choice.

“We support the aim of making the digital single market fit for purpose but , the inclusion of copyrighted online material in the draft legislation risks undermining, not underpinning, the digital economy.”

ECR MEPs support measures to force retailers of traditional goods sell at the same price irrespective of where in the EU customers live because sellers can simply refuse to deliver outside their own national borders, a step not open to producers of digital content.

Although the report was approved by the committee today, ECR MEPs will continue to press for online copyrighted sales will be removed from the legislation during forthcoming trilogue talks involving the Parliament, European Council and European Commission.