Geo-blocking regulation

IMCO 29-04-2019 - 15:44
geo-blocking regulation

The Regulation on addressing geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on place of residence or establishment or nationality within the Single Market entered into force on 3 December 2018. The proposal was presented by the Commission as part of its eCommerce package in May 2016, with the aim of ensuring that customers throughout the EU have the same access to goods and services as local customers. The Regulation builds upon the provisions of the Services Directive (Article 20),

which already establishes the principle for non-discrimination, but which had proven difficult to enforce in practice due to legal uncertainty concerning what practices would/would not be considered justified.

Under the new rules, online sellers are not allowed to discriminate against customers elsewhere in the EU as regards general terms and conditions, including price, on the basis of their nationality, place of residence or even their temporary location. Automatic re-routing to another website is also banned. As a result, wider access to goods, hotel bookings, car rentals or concert tickets across borders will be ensured. Electronically supplied services not protected by copyright, such as cloud services, data warehousing or web hosting, are also covered.

Digital copyrighted content, such as e-books, music or video games, however, is not fully included in the scope. This will be part of the first review of the regulation, which the Commission is obliged to undertake by 23.03.2020.