The European Parliament has voted to approve new content-portability rules that allow EU citizens to access streaming content on paid services such as Netflix, HBO GO and Amazon Prime when traveling around the EU.
The new rules were adopted by 586 votes to 34, with 8 abstentions. The new rules will only apply to online fee-based services but providers of free services can also make their content portable EU-wide provided they comply with the requirements relating to residency checks.
The draft law still needs to be formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. Member states will have nine months from the date of entry of the regulation to bring the new rules into force.
“European citizens have been waiting for these new rules, which represent a step towards a common digital market,” said the rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada. “The news rules increase mobility and successfully offer portability to users of European online content, without affecting copyright.”
Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s VP for the Digital Single Market, commented: “I welcome today’s positive vote of the European Parliament on the portability of online content across borders, following the agreement reached between the European Parliament, Council and Commission at the beginning of the year. I warmly thank the European Parliament rapporteur Jean-Marie Cavada for his work in achieving this and look forward to final approval by Member States in the coming weeks.
“The rules voted today mean that, as of the beginning of next year, people who have subscribed to their favorite series, music and sports events at home will be able to enjoy them when they travel in the European Union. Combined with the end of roaming charges, it means that watching films or listening to music while on holiday abroad will not bring any additional costs to people who use mobile networks. This is an important step in breaking down barriers in the Digital Single Market.
“We now need agreements on our other proposals to modernize EU copyright rules and ensure wider access to creative content across borders and fairer rules for creators. I rely on the European Parliament and Member States to make swift progress to make this happen.”