As much as digital streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon have offered us more content in the past few years than has ever been so easily accessible before, one major frustration remains: geo-blocking. However in the future we may all have the same content available, as the European Commission (EUC) has presented a plan to abolish the practice altogether.
The problem doesn’t necessarily stem from a perceived ‘unfairness’ that some people can watch certain content and others can’t, but that people travelling to different European countries cannot use the service they pay for in the same manner as they can at home. That just shouldn’t be, according to the EUC, which is why it’s proposed that all geo-blocking within EU nations be abolished.
This would include countries where services are not officially accessible just yet. As TorrentFreak explains, this would allow someone in one country to enjoy a service in another that is not officially available to citizens there just yet.
Presumably people in those nations could then create foreign accounts and login using them, but it’s not clear.
“We want to ensure the portability of content across borders. People who legally buy content – films, books, football matches, TV series – must be able to carry it with them anywhere they go in Europe,” said VP for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip.
This isn’t likely to please media companies, which have aggressively blocked their content from showing in countries where license fees aren’t paid for. Netflix and other services however have been more than happy with the idea of killing geo-blocking for some time, as it would let them offer wider content libraries to users without individual license fees for different regions.
It’s why Netflix previously didn’t do much to stop people using VPNs or DNS changes to access its service from different countries. It has made some moves more recently, but is still keen to leave its customers to access the service as they see fit.
This is just part of the copyright proposals that will be debated next year, but the EUC hopes that it can push for an end to EU geo-blocking by 2017.
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KitGuru Says: An end to geo-blocking would be great. Make it universal and give us access to U.S. Netflix without resorting to VPN or DNS changes and we’re golden.