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MEPs greenlight online films and TV while abroad

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MEPs greenlight online films and TV while abroad

TV - Photo European Parliament

(STRASBOURG)- The European Parliament gave the green light Thursday to new rules enabling EU citizens with subscriptions for online films and TV series to access this content while temporarily in another EU country.

EU citizens visiting another EU country are often prevented from accessing online content services, such as films, TV series, music, games, or sporting events, for which they have paid subscriptions for in their home country.

According to a Commission survey, 64% of Europeans used the internet to play or download games, images, films or music , in 2016. Many of them expect to do so while they travel in the EU. Their numbers are expected to grow as Europeans will pay less to access the internet on their mobile devices in other EU member states from 15 June 2017, when mobile roaming charges end in the EU.

The new rules, already agreed informally by Parliament and Council negotiators in February 2017, will remove these restrictions so that EU citizens can also watch, listen or play when abroad in another EU country for holidays, studies or business.

"European citizens have been waiting for these new rules, which represent a step towards a common digital market," said Parliament's rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada MEP: "The news rules increase mobility and successfully offer portability to users of European online content, without affecting copyright."

Residence check and data protection: online content service providers may take "effective and reasonable" measures to verify that the subscriber has not permanently moved to another EU country as required copyright licenses may differ between countries. A list of permissible methods for verification purposes includes identity cards, payment details, public tax information, postal address details or IP address checks. Service providers must ensure that any processing of personal data is proportionate and must introduce safeguards, especially for IP address checks.

The new rules will only apply to online fee-based services but providers of free services can also make their content portable EU-wide provided they comply with the requirements relating to residency checks.

The draft law now needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. Member States will then have nine months from the date of entry into force of the regulation to bring the new rules into force.

Further information, European Parliament

Steps of the procedure

Adopted text will soon be available here (18.05.2017)

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