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EU Businesses Media

EU's Long-Promised Digital Media Portability Rules Go Into Effect (wired.co.uk) 35

The EU's long-promised digital media portability rules have taken effect as of April 1st, letting residents access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other paid digital media services in other member countries as if they were still at home. From a report: The European Commission's 'digital single market strategy,' which last year claimed victory over mobile roaming charges, has now lead to it passing the 'portability regulation,' which will allow users around the EU to use region locked services more freely while travelling abroad. Under currently active rules, what content is available in a certain territory is based on the specific local rights that a provider has secured. The new rules allow for what Phil Sherrell, head of international media, entertainment and sport for international law firm Bird and Bird, calls "copyright fiction," allowing the normal rules to be bent temporarily while a user is travelling.

The regulation was originally passed in June 2017, but the nine-month period given to rights holders and service providers to prepare is about to expire, and thereby making the rules enforceable. From today, content providers, whether their products are videos, music, games, live sport or e-books, will use their subscribers' details to validate their home country, and let them access all the usual content and services available in that location all around the Union.

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EU's Long-Promised Digital Media Portability Rules Go Into Effect

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  • I already do the same thing without needing EU regulations by using a VPN.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 02, 2018 @11:50AM (#56366949)

      I also sidestep the need for policemen by owning a gun and going after thieves myself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      so you see the need to pay twice what i pay for netflix?
      But in general i think these rights regulations are outdated and need to die. cos watching netflix in usa gives you access to 3 or 4 times as much as a guy in sweden paying the same.
      The dinosaur needs to die and a new system needs to be made from scratch. but all the thousand middlemen wont let it... cos .. well free milk and what not

      • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @12:49PM (#56367349) Journal
        The problem apparently is that it's hard and expensive to secure rights for content in multiple countries. In some cases companies like Netflix simply don't bother in smaller countries, in other cases the distributor has already sold an exclusive license for content to someone else. The EU people are well aware of this. This new rule is simply the first step towards EU-wide licensing. First they'll make it easy to sell and enforce such a license, then they'll make it mandatory: Netflix will no longer be able to offer a different selection in different countries (with a posible exception for local content)

        Oh and Phil Sherrell and his copyright fiction can go to hell. He and his ilk would do well to remember that copyright exists for the benefit of the public, not for creators or distributors.
        • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @01:08PM (#56367443)

          What we need to move towards is global non-discriminatory licensing for TV shows and the like, similar to what exists for music. Netflix wants to host a show? fine, they can, they just pay the rights owners a set price, same as any other streaming provider would pay. Then they can't try and force us to subscribe to multiple services in order to view the content without resorting to copyright infringement.

        • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @02:20PM (#56367875)

          "Netflix will no longer be able to"? My guess is that Netflix will be more like: "glad not to have to". If I were running Netflix, or any similar service really, I'd be awfully annoyed at having to waste the time, money, and engineering effort to create geographical blocks on content to appease some scummy RIAA/MPAA-wannabe org. (Or, for that matter, the scum at the RIAA and MPAA themselves. Though, I suppose the RIAA doesn't come into play for a video service.) Bonus: the fewer of those types I had to cut deals with, the fewer toxic people I'd have to meet in my life and the happier I'd be in general.

          • Meta: Why not remove the upper limit on score?

          • by eddeye ( 85134 )

            My guess is that Netflix will be more like: "glad not to have to".

            Except that's not what this is. It doesn't remove country content blocks. It only changes what country-specific content each user gets to see. Now it's tied to the account billing address instead of the physical location of the user.

            From an engineering standpoint this makes it harder on Netflix not easier. The EU is now a special case, where this behavior must be coded differently. For everywhere else, the geoblock code is already in

        • It's m00t anyway; pretty soon, there'll be only NetFlix-sourced content :D

      • How would Netflix work if state copyright laws trumped federal laws and each state could set their own.

        Would we have a uniform set of laws or would we have something like guns laws where crossing some State boarders with a gun is a felony ? Where some counties and towns have overrides on even owning let alone carrying a gun without permission?

        That is current eu copyright law. That is what this is addressing. Failure to understand the issue before mouthing off is basically the common trait among humans.

    • I'm sorry, is the middleman you're telling to suck it the VPN provider you no longer need?

    • Does that get round Netflix's VPN blocking?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The funny part about this is, the implementation of this is far, far easier than trying to geolocate an IP and do VPN detection and all that. A law that actually mandates a simpler solution, how often does that happen?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know what's even more simple? No dumbass region BS at all.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Do you mean you would prefer a rule that a publisher must offer a work in all regions or offer it in none? That rule, applied strictly, would allow any country to apply its fringe regulations on speech to censor a work worldwide.

        • Not necessarily. The good thing about countries is that there are so many to choose from. Same for all does not override local regulation. It just means that when banned it will be banned in one country only instead of banned in one country and inaccessible in a shitload due to geoblocking.

          • Say a movie is an adaptation of a book whose copyright has expired in life plus 50 years countries and publication plus 95 years countries but subsists in life plus 70 years countries. Thus the publisher has the right to make the movie available in the former but not the latter. The EU market is the latter since the mid-1990s. Is a publisher's refusal to offer access to the movie in countries where it has no right to do so considered "local regulation" or "geoblocking"?

            • Something that is easily solved by requiring copyright to only exist in one country, kind of like real laws.

    • Laws frequently mandate simpler solutions. For instance, the microUSB mandate for cell phone charging simplified things greatly.

  • by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Monday April 02, 2018 @01:34PM (#56367599) Homepage

    If EU country X has banned particular content, does this new EU rule allow people from other countries to view that content while in country X?

  • One of the nice things about travelling in Europe was sampling the local Netflix content while in another country. I'm currently stationed in Germany and half way through a series I now pirated because my home account (I assume) won't show it when I head off to Germany again tomorrow.

    I did notice that my Netflix account didn't have any French movies in it yesterday which I found odd.

    I know it's well meaning, but not all of us asked for this. What we did ask for is the stupid geoblocking to be torn down comp

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