New EU rules mean travellers can watch online shows from abroad

BRUSSELS (dpa) - New EU rules coming into effect next month will allow Europeans to watch their online film or television subscription services during trips to other member states.
At present, subscriptions to digital services such as Netflix or online sport channels within the European Union can only be viewed in the subscriber's country of residence, preventing holidaymakers or business travellers from accessing content they have paid for.

Under the new rules, which come into effect on April 1, paid-for subscription services must be accessible to customers when they are temporarily in another EU member state.
This will apply for holidays, business trips and stays of several months in another member state, as well as making domestic online content available to people with daily cross-border commutes.
The new rules will grant travellers a "virtual extension of your suitcase," said EU Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel. The overhaul is part of EU efforts to break down national barriers to the bloc's digital market.
However, it will not allow a French citizen living in Germany to use a France-based online film subscription service, for example. Service providers will have to verify the subscriber's country of residence, using various types of personal information.
Free online service providers can choose whether to sign up to the new rules, which are only binding upon paid-for content. They will automatically apply to existing subscriptions.
The rules are also relevant for online music services such as Spotify and e-books, although these tend to face fewer restrictions, according to the European Commission.

Thursday, March 29th 2018

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