2015-04-09

Europe, Digital Single Market, Geo-Blocking, Geo-gating

UPDATE: see Domain Mondo | European Commission Unveils Digital Single Market Strategy

"Geo-Blocking (Geographically Blocked), is a term which refers to "the practice of preventing users from viewing Web sites and downloading applications and media based on location. Used by national governments to block foreign material as well as by movie and TV studios to restrict viewing to specific regions, geo-blocking is accomplished by excluding targeted, IP addresses ... Geo-blocking or geo-gating is a boundary protection practice to secure online data from unauthorized geographic regions. To geo-block, network administrators use devices such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to filter Internet Protocol (IP addresses) from blacklisted areas and deny the IPs request to data...." (source: Wikipedia)

UPDATE April 21, 2015: Leaked digital single market’s ‘evidence file’ reveals Commission’s ambitions – POLITICOLeaked copies of the upcoming Digital Single Market Strategy and its supporting Evidence file show the European Commission is ready to propose vast regulatory reforms that could affect everything from sales taxes and e-privacy to Internet searches and big data.... (read more at Politico link above, including the leaked Digital Single Market Evidence and the leaked Digital Single Market Strategy.)

Digital Single Market | Digital Agenda for Europe | European Commission: "With the internet revolution, the global economy is becoming more and more digital. This means that the freedoms of the European single market have to also go digital. Our vision is to create a Digital Single Market. This will be an area where the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured; where citizens and businesses can easily access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, regardless of their nationality or place of residence. And what do we need to make this vision true?
  • We need to be able to enjoy the same online content and services regardless of which EU country we are in,
  • we need the opportunity to set up a business (virtually) and offer services in any EU country easily,
  • we need simple, clear rules for copyright, so we know where we - and our businesses - stand,
  • we need assurance that our personal data is protected at all times,
  • we need reliable, high speed broadband, including in rural areas."
The European Commission 2007 antitrust investigation of Apple’s iTunes music service over geo-blocking ended quietly when Brussels had to admit that European national (territorial) copyright laws make it difficult for Apple to offer the same songs to consumers in every market. (source Wall Street Journal, infra)
The Digital Market in Europe today is made up of by national online services (39%) and US-based online services (57%) -- EU cross-border online services represent only 4%.

Europe’s Digital Single Mistake - WSJ"Brussels has long used antitrust cases to achieve policy outcomes it can’t achieve otherwise, and so it is with the European Commission’s new plan to create a “digital single market,” or DSM. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced last week that she will conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into why cross-border e-commerce isn’t more common in the single market. In her telling, around half of Europeans shopped online last year but only 15% bought something online from a seller in another EU state. The supposed culprit is the practice of “geo-blocking,” in which firms set different prices, or make products unavailable entirely, for consumers in different countries or regions. Likely targets of the inquiry include Netflix and Amazon...."

Pillar I: Digital Single Market | Digital Agenda for Europe | European Commission: "Too many barriers still block the free flow of online services and entertainment across national borders. The Digital Agenda will update EU Single Market rules for the digital era. The aims are to boost the music download business, establish a single area for online payments, and further protect EU consumers in cyberspace. Creating a connected digital single market is one of the ten priorities from the President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker. Its completion could generate up to EUR 250 billion of additional growth in Europe in the course of the mandate of the new Commission (2014-2019), thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, notably for young job-seekers, and a vibrant knowledge-based society. Andrus Ansip is the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market: read his mission letter(More on the background analysis and data) ..."

see also:
Digital Single Market - European Commission


EU Commission priority – digital single market - European Commission 25/03/2015 - Press release
Digital Single Market Strategy: European Commission agrees areas for action 25/03/2015 - Factsheet: Why we need a Digital Single Market(519 kB) The borderless nature of digital technologies means it no longer makes sense for each EU country to have its own rules for telecommunications services, copyright, data protection, or the management of radio spectrum. More importantly, we now face a golden opportunity. By fostering a Digital Single Market, we can create up to €340 billion in additional growth, hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and a vibrant knowledge-based society. Our vision is of a Digital Single Market: making the EU's single market freedoms "go digital", and boosting growth and jobs on our continent. Objectives Rapidly concluding negotiations on common EU data protection rules. Giving more ambition to the ongoing reform of telecoms rules. Modifying copyright rules to reflect new technologies, and to make them simpler and clearer. Simplifying consumer rules for online purchases. Making it easier for innovators to start their own company. Boosting digital skills and learning. Enjoying the same online content and services regardless of the EU country we are in. More information Digital Single Market - Digital Agenda for Europe Full text from President Juncker's Political Guidelines(2 MB)


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