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Ansip: the geo-blocking issue needs to be solved. Eu’s internal market and the geo-blocking cannot coexist!

pdf mise en ligne :12 05 2015 ( NEA say… n° 156 )


  Commission’s Vice President in charge of Digital Single Market Mr. Ansip, confirmed during a speech with the members of the Committee on Culture and Education, Monday April 27 in Strasbourg, that his objective was and still is, to put an end to the geo-blocking problem including a directive in the copyright reform, in order to warrant the complete availability of digital contents within the whole countries of the European Union.
It was Wednesday, March 25th, when Mr. Ansip stated that the EU’s internal market and the geo-blocking “cannot coexist”. Indeed “There are two logics: The logic of geo-blocking and the logic of internal market. We have to make our choice. Those two, they cannot coexist”, said Ansip.

On Monday April 27th, he confirmed his thought and the fact that it would be time to solve the geo-blocking issue. “We already proposed in the year 2006 to abolish roaming surcharges. Then (digital commissioner 2010-2014) Neelie Kroes continued with this job. Now (fellow digital commissioner) Günther Oettinger and me, we are dealing with those issues. The question is: who will be the next one?”

"I hope we will be able to abolish roaming surcharges very soon already. And I hope, and I'm pretty sure we will be more successful in abolishing geo-blocking"


Following Mr. Ansip, put an end to geo blocking does not mean putting an end to the principle of territoriality, but opposing it instead, to the absolute territorial exclusivity. Indeed, Mr. Ansip even though he’s in favour of the principle of territoriality, he’s not supporting absolute territorial exclusivity. “I would like to ask for cross-border access to the content and portability of the content, but it does not mean that we are wanting to destroy the principle of territoriality,” so Mr. Ansip.

“It does not mean that after this reform there will only be pan-European licenses. If, for example, in a smaller Member State, film producers are expecting that the interest to buy those rights of the films is only in the neighboring Member States, this will be acceptable. There is no need to sell pan-European licenses, no need to buy pan-European licenses” »


Following Ansip, there are also a few cases where the geo-blocking practice may be acceptable: “When for example in one country online gambling is prohibited, then geo-blocking is absolutely acceptable.”

“If there are differences in national legislations, and (geo-blocking) is the only possibility to protect people in the country, then it's acceptable. But deep in my heart I would like to say: I hate geo-blocking. I think this is old-fashioned, this is not fair. We don't have to use that kind of instruments in the 21st century.”


A final version of the strategy will be presented on Wednesday May 6th. Once adopted the directive should lead to a safer Internet within the EU, helping prevent and fight further cybercrime infractions and computer hacking practices.

 “I'm under no illusions. It will be an uphill struggle”, said Ansip.


Patrick Zingerle


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