MEPs scrap geoblocking and adopt new rules for online retailers

EPA-EFE/PATRICK SEEGER

Members of the European Parlimant take part in the voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 06 February 2018.

MEPs scrap geoblocking and adopt new rules for online retailers


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The European Parliament has approved geoblocking legislation that prevents traders within the EU from discriminating between online customers depending on where they live.

EU citizens buying goods and services online will not be blocked or redirected to a different website based on their IP address. Strasbourg voted on new rules that will, however, exclude products covered by copyright, such as e-books, downloadable music or online games.

Paid movie streaming services like Netflix will remain subject to other EU rules. According to the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy, these platforms must be freely accessible to subscribers from March onwards.

According to a survey by the European Commission, two out of three EU online providers use geo-blocking, forcing third country customers to pay more for products or not offer their services.

Customers in smaller countries like Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Slovenia were affected by practices experienced by residents of border regions. They are often unable to order services or goods online from a neighbouring country.

Now that the EU parliamentarians have voted in favor of the measure, EU member states will have to greenlight the legislation before it comes into effect by the end of the year.

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