Digital Content and Geo-blocking
Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you wish to view a video on the Internet, but were denied because it’s not available in your country? Or have you ever tried to download an e-book or music on a foreign website, but you couldn’t because you don’t live in the website’s country?
Mise à jour : Mai 2019
Following the implementation of the European Regulation 2017/1128 on April 1, 2018, if you find yourself temporarily in another EU Member State, you can take advantage of your paid subscriptions to watch movies, television shows, or listen to music. The goal of this regulation is to promote the cross-border portability of digital content.
Therefore, you can take advantage of all of your paid subscriptions anywhere in the EU, such as:
- Video streaming platforms
- E-book downloads
- On-demand TV show access from private national channels
- Sporting events broadcast by premium services
Furthermore, you have full access to your subscription: in other words, access to the same content, to the same range of content, for the same amount of devices or users, and with the same functions. However, all of that goes without a service quality guarantee.
Contracts concluded before April 1, 2018 are also affected by this regulation.
- Only paid subscriptions are concerned in the cross-border portability of digital content. Free service providers can choose what to offer their clients.
- This new rules only apply to temporary visits in another EU Member State. Someone residing in France cannot take advantage of a subscription to a German TV channel, for example.
- This regulation does not provide a definition for the term “temporary”. As such, businesses could confirm your place of residence via the payment address, the forms of payment used, your IP address, your Internet access contract, etc.
1. What are the paid subscriptions that I can use?
Video or music streaming services, video games or e-books, and sporting events broadcast by premium services.
2. Do I have access to the same content as in France?
Yes. You will be able to take advantage of all of the same advantages of your subscription: access to the same content, the same range of content offered, for the same number of devices or users, and with the same functionalities (the French Netflix catalogue in Spain, for example)
3. Can the subscription provider charge me for using the subscription outside of my country of residence?
No. Supplementary charges cannot come from using your paid subscription outside of your country of residence, as long as you stay within the EU. If you are using your mobile data on your smartphone to access the subscription, make sure to avoid roaming charges (consult our FAQ on roaming charges).
4. I’m on vacation in France and I can’t access my on-demand access of an Italian TV show. Is this normal?
The regulation 2017/1128 does not require free service providers to offer their content in another Member State of the EU. As such, a free on-demand TV service of an Italian TV channel can therefore be inaccessible in another Member State. The European legislator is considering lifting current obstacles (which are linked to author’s rights) to make these free services available everywhere in the future.
On the other hand, a paid on-demand service of a national private TV channel is accessible in another Member State.
5. I am about to move to Germany. Is it possible to keep my French subscription?
No. These new rules only apply to temporary visits to another EU Member State. For example, if you live in Germany, you cannot have a subscription to a French TV channel. However, this regulation does not provide a precise definition of “temporary”. As such, service providers could confirm your place of residence via the payment address, the forms of payment used, your IP address, your Internet access contract, etc. to ensure that you live in the country where the subscription is offered.
6. During my vacation in another European Member State, I subscribed to a streaming service from that country. Can I still use it when I return to France?
No. These new rules only apply to temporary visits to another EU Member State. For example, if you subscribe to a Spanish streaming service during your time in Spain, you cannot keep this subscription indefinitely after your return in France.