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The EU wants to remove regional limits on digital goods

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 29, 2015
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Think regional locks on movie streaming and other digital goods are silly? So does the European Commission. It's outlining a new strategy (the Digital Single Market) that would prevent companies from geo-blocking online services when it's not truly necessary. This kind of arbitrary limit "cannot exist" in a single European Union-wide digital marketplace, officials argue. It's not clear what rules will be involved (you'll likely hear more about that when the full strategy is due in May), but the implication is that you wouldn't be forced to download or stream from a country-specific service. If you wanted to watch French Netflix from Germany, for example, you could.

Whether or not the EU can actually do this is another matter. While it might not be that hard to ask online services to open up, content licensing usually happens on a country-by-country basis -- regulators would likely have to enforce Union-wide license deals and pricing to make the digital rules stick. There is a chance that this will happen given a simultaneous push for more consumer-friendly copyright laws, but you won't want to count on unfettered access just yet.

[Image credit: European Parliament, Flickr]

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