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The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is seeking views on recently published draft EU legislation that is intended to ensure that European consumers will be able to access digital subscriptions when travelling in other EU countries.
30% of Europeans who access films, TV series and sports broadcasts online pay to view them by subscribing to an online service or purchasing and renting them item by item. The issue is that many European consumers cannot access online content services they have legally acquired in their home country when travelling across the EU. “Portable” digital services will allow people to continue to use their online subscriptions available at home, while temporarily in another country.
Portability remains an issue for many types of content because of territorial copyright agreements which govern where services can be accessed. The Commission’s proposals include copyright changes that will to make it easier for subscription providers to make their services available in other EU countries, by providing that the laws of the subscriber’s home country will continue to apply.
The IPO is now seeking a range of views from service providers, rights-holder organisations, and consumers, in order to better understand how they may be affected by the proposals. In particular the IPO has asked for views on the application of the new rules to existing contracts, as the Regulation is expected to apply to existing contracts and acquired rights. The aim is to simplify the introduction of portable services and avoid lengthy contract renegotiation.
The key provisions of the draft Regulation are contained in Articles 3, 4 and 5:
The IPO is seeking comments by 12 February 2016, which will be used to construct the UK’s response to a wider European consultation on the issue. Once this is complete, the aim is for the Regulation to come into force in 2017. This includes a transition period to allow businesses to implement any necessary changes.
The publication of the draft Regulation coincides with additional measures that aim to fulfil the Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy. The Commission will analyse the legal framework for the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including copyright, by autumn 2016 and has published a roadmap on its geo-blocking proposals, seeking to address unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of digital discrimination based on a consumer's place of residence or nationality. While the Commission's long-term vision of full harmonisation remains well out of reach for the time being, these measures show that the Commission is seeking to make progress in achieving the goals set out as part of the EU’s Digital Agenda.
To read the draft Regulation on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market, click here.
This article was written by James Norrey. For more information please contact James on +44 020 7203 5233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.