February 27, 2017
Negotiators from the EU Commission, Parliament and Council have reached an informal agreement to end geoblocking practices for online content services. The principle adopted is simple. Each platform (Netflix, Canal Play, Spotify, Deezer, etc) must check in which member state its user is domiciled in relation to the contract with the platform. The platform must then allow the user to access content available in his state of residence as well as content available in the member state in which he accesses the service.
The provisions will only apply to paid online services. Free platforms will have the possibility of ending geoblocking practices but will have no obligation to do so. In practice, free platforms are excluded from the agreement as there are no legal provisions to enable them to obtain an amendment to their agreement with their content licensors.
The proposal is still in the informal stages. The text will be subject to debate throughout 2017 before being put to a Parliamentary and Council vote. If adopted, the provision will to enter into force 9 months after adoption, probably during 2018.