Growth

Public consultation on geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions when shopping and accessing information in the EU

Public consultation on geo-blocking and other geographically-based restrictions when shopping and accessing information in the EU
Published on: 24/09/2015 Last update: 26/09/2017
Deadline: 28/12/2015
Today the European Commission is launching a public consultation on geo-blocking. The Commission wants to hear from citizens, manufacturers, retailers (especially SMEs), right holders, data and cloud service providers and users, as well as all those involved in the collaborative economy.

See the preliminary trends from the public consultation.

The views expressed and information gathered will help the Commission assess the need for, or prepare initiatives as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy and the Internal Market strategy for goods and services.

This consultation aims to gather views and information about the experiences and difficulties encountered by users and businesses when they access or provide information, and shop or sell across borders in the EU.

Current rules prohibit discrimination on the basis of residence or nationality, both in the online and offline world, unless justified by objective criteria, and promote the free movement of goods and services across borders. However, companies often impose restrictions or apply different conditions to potential customers on the basis of their nationality or place of residence.

The Commission's consultation identifies known examples, and contains questions to gather more real-life experiences. It does not cover geo-blocking related to copyright and content licensing practices.

The consultation will help the Commission prepare legislative proposals in the first half of 2016 to end unjustified geo-blocking, which could include targeted change to the e-Commerce rules and to the framework set out by Article 20 of the Services Directive and will contribute to the roll-out of the Internal Market Strategy.

The consultation will run until 28 December 2015 (for a 12-week period starting on the date when consultation texts were published in all official languages).

Background

The Commission's plan for the Digital Single Market (DSM) aims to tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one which could bring €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. The DSM plan consists of 16 targeted initiatives to create better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; and maximise the growth potential of the digital economy.