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European Commission Press Releases

Digital Single Market – Portability of online content services

George Miller

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Digital Single Market – Portability of online content services
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Brussels, 27 March 2018

Questions and Answers

What is the objective of the Regulation?

The aim is to ensure that Europeans who buy or subscribe to films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books and games in their home Member State are able to access this content when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country. The Regulation comes into force on 1 April 2018 in all EU Member States.

Who benefits from the new rules?

  • Consumers who reside in the EU: new rules enable them to watch films or sporting events, listen to music, download e-books or play games – when visiting or staying temporarily in other EU countries.
  • Providers of online content services: they will be able to provide cross-border portability of online content to their subscribers without having to acquire licences for other territories where the subscribers stay temporarily.

The interests of right holders are safeguarded to avoid abuses.

Do providers have to offer the same service wherever the subscriber is travelling? How will it work for video-on-demand services like Netflix, which is active in more than one country in the EU?

Yes, providers of paid-for online content services (such as online movie, TV or music streaming services) have to provide their subscribers with the same service wherever the subscriber is in the EU. The service needs to be provided in the same way in other Member States, as in the Member State of residence. So for Netflix for example, you will have access to the same selection (or catalogue) anywhere in the EU, if you are temporarily abroad, just as if you were at home.

The new rules do not prevent service providers to offer additional options to their users when they are abroad, such as access to the content which is available in the country they travel in. Whether the service provider in question will allow or maintain access to the local content in addition to their obligation under the regulation will therefore depend entirely on the service provider.

Is there a limitation in time? What will happen if a person lives in one country and works in another on a daily basis?

The portability regulation covers situations in which subscribers are temporarily abroad. This term is not defined in the Regulation. However, what is meant by this is to be present in a Member State other than the Member State of residence. It covers various scenarios including holidays and business trips.

The new rules do not set any limits for the use of the portability feature, as long as the user resides in another Member State. Service providers should inform their subscribers of the exact conditions of their portability offers. For example, if you live in Belgium and subscribe to a paid music streaming service there, you will have access to the same selection of music in other Member States, as at home in Belgium.

This portability of your online content will be available if you commute daily to other Member States, like France or Luxembourg for example.

How will the content service providers verify the country of residence of their users?

The service provider will have to verify the subscriber’s country of residence. This will be done at the conclusion and renewal of the contract.

Service providers will be able to verify the country of residence through different information provided by the subscriber. The Regulation provides for a closed list of such verification means to limit interference with consumers’ privacy. The means listed include for example payment details, payment of a licence fee for broadcasting services, the existence of a contract for internet or telephone connection, IP checks or the subscriber’s declaration of their address of residence. The service provider will be able to apply not more than two means of verification from this list. Any processing of personal data will have to be carried out in accordance with EU data protection rules.

Does the Regulation also apply to online services that are free of charge?

Providers of online content services that are free of charge are able to choose whether they want to benefit from these new rules. Once they opt-in and allow portability under the Regulation, all rules will apply to them in the same manner as for the paid services. This means that the subscribers will have to log-in to be able to access and use content when temporarily abroad, and service providers will have to verify the Member State of residence of the subscriber.

How can a consumer know which online services provided free of charge have opted-in?

If providers of free of charge online content services decide to make use of the new portability rules, they are required to inform their subscribers about this decision prior to providing the service. Such information could, for example, be announced on the providers’ websites.

Are public broadcasters covered? Can I watch BBC, Arte or other services?

Online content services covered by the Regulation may also include services offered by public broadcasters. The question whether a particular broadcaster is covered by the scope of the Regulation depends on whether the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • Consumer can already access the services on different devices and not limited to a specific infrastructure only,
  • The TV programmes are provided to subscribers whose Member State of residence is verified by the provider and,
  • The online content services are either provided against payment or the provider has decided to make use of the new portability rules on a voluntary basis.

Can I watch films from the broadcasters in another country online, such as movies from Spanish or Estonian TV in Belgium?

If a broadcaster of online content in your home Member State is covered by the new portability rules, you will be able to watch your content when you are temporarily abroad in another Member State.

On the contrary, accessing content that is offered in another Member State from your home country is not covered by the new portability rules. Consumers would, however, for certain TV and radio programmes benefit from the proposed Regulation on broadcasters’ online transmissions and retransmissions of radio and TV programmes currently under negotiations. This will give the broadcasters and producers the additional choice to give cross-border access to more programmes (see factsheet).

Do you have examples of problems that the Regulation solves?

People travelling or staying temporarily in other EU countries have often faced restrictions: they can be cut off from their online content services or have only limited access. Many people – especially when they leave for short trips – will not find it convenient to buy a subscription to a local service, or may find that their favourite films and series are not available or only in a foreign language.

  • A subscriber trying to watch films using his Home Box Office (HBO) Nordic account when on holiday in Italy sees a message saying that the service “is only available in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland”.
  • A French user of the MyTF1 film and series service is not able to rent a new film while on business trip to the UK.

Users may have been able to, for example, only view the content that they have already downloaded onto their portable device.

  • Users of the Belgian film service Universciné must remember to download a film they have rented before leaving for a trip in another EU country. They are not able to use the Universciné streaming feature when away from their home country or download films when they are abroad.

These issues will be resolved by the new portability rules. The restrictions concerning the portability of subscriptions to online music services (like Spotify or Deezer) or e-books seem to be less significant. But restrictions in the future cannot be excluded, that is why today’s rules are also important for such services.

Is the portability of sports online subscriptions covered by the new rules?

Yes, various online sports content services will be covered. This includes services where sports are part of a paid-for TV online content service (for example, streaming services such as Zattoo in Germany), or where sports are part of the overall online services package (for example Sky Go), as well as where a sports organiser sets up a dedicated online content service.

Will the service provider be able to charge for portability?

No, under the new rules, online content services will not be allowed to impose additional charges on subscribers for providing cross-border portability of their content.

What are the new rules saying if a service provider starts to limit the titles of music, films or games available when travelling abroad?

Subscribers to paid-for online content services and free online content services that have opted-in will have the same access to these services when they travel as in their Member State. This means that when accessing the service in another Member State, it will be like at home: offering the same content on the same range and number of devices, and with the same range of functionalities.

Any action taken by a provider that would prevent subscribers from accessing or using the service while temporarily present in another Member State: for example, restrictions to the functionalities of the service are contrary to the Regulation. This means that the provider cannot limit the catalogues of music, films or TV series available when you travel to another Member State.

Are the main providers of online content technically ready to apply the new Regulation from 1 April?

The Commission has been in close contact with the main providers of online content services (like platforms for TV shows, movies, music, sports, etc.) and has received positive feedback from them that the roll out of the new portability rules has been going smoothly and on time. Where service providers had encountered issues, we understood that they were in the process of overcoming them. The Commission has been monitoring closely the process and will continue to do so.

The regulation is binding for paid-for services. Providers of free content may opt in to benefit from the new rules, but do not have to do so. Some service providers have already announced to opt in (YLE in Finland, RTBF in Belgium), and the Commission expects that others will follow now that the new rules have become applicable.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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European Commission Press Releases

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data

George Miller

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EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. Photo Credits: EPA/BGNES
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brussels, 19 June 2018 – Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement on free flow of non-personal data

The European Parliament, Council and the European Commission tonight reached a political agreement on new rules that will allow data to be stored and processed everywhere in the EU without unjustified restrictions. The new rules will also support the creation of a competitive data economy within the Digital Single Market.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said:”Data localisation restrictions are signs of protectionism for which there is no place in a single market. After free movement of people, goods, services and capital, we have made the next step with this agreement for a free flow of non-personal data to drive technological innovations and new business models and create a European data space for all types of data.

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said: “Data is the backbone of today’s digital economy and this proposal will help to build a common European data space. The European data economy can become a powerful driver for growth, create new jobs and open up new business models and innovation opportunities. With this agreement we are one step closer to completing the Digital Single Market by the end of 2018.”

The new rules will remove barriers hindering the free flow of data, and boost Europe’s economy by generating an estimated growth of up to 4% GDP by 2020.

The new free flow of non-personal data rules will:

  • Ensure the free flow of data across borders: The new rules set a framework for data storing and processing across the EU, prohibiting data localisation restrictions. Member States will have to communicate to the Commission any remaining or planned data localisation restrictions to the Commission in limited specific situations of public sector data processing. The Regulation on free flow of non-personal data has no impact on the application of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as it does not cover personal data. However, the two Regulations will function together to enable the free flow of any data – personal and non-personal – thus creating a single European space for data. In the case of a mixed dataset, the GDPR provision guaranteeing free flow of personal data will apply to the personal data part of the set, and the free flow of non-personal data principle will apply to the non-personal part.
  • Ensure data availability for regulatory control: Public authorities will be able to access data for scrutiny and supervisory control wherever it is stored or processed in the EU. Member States may sanction users that do not provide access to data stored in another Member State.
  • Encourage creation of codes of conduct for cloud services to facilitate switching between cloud service providers under clear deadlines. This will make the market for cloud services more flexible and the data services in the EU more affordable.

The agreed measures are in line with existing rules for the free movement and portability of personal data in the EU.

 

Background

The Commission presented a framework for the free flow of non-personal data in September 2017 as a part of President Jean-Claude Juncker‘s State of the Union address to unlock the full potential of the European Data Economy. It was announced as one of the key actions in the mid-term review of the Digital Single Market strategy.

 

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European Commission Press Releases

Codewise’s Dr. Rzeszuciński Joins the European AI Alliance, Launched by the European Commission

George Miller

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Codewise's Dr. Rzeszuciński Joins the European AI Alliance
Reading Time: 3 minutes

LONDONJune 18, 2018 — Codewise, the industry’s first provider of AI-powered online ad measurement and management solutions for digital marketers, announced today that Dr. Paweł Rzeszuciński, Data Scientist at Codewise, accepted the invitation to become a member of the European AI Alliance, a forum launched by the European Commission.

Since Dr. Paweł Rzeszuciński will join the Alliance within his personal capacity, he will act independently and in the public interest, as per the rules set by the European Commission.

Following the signing of the Declaration of cooperation on Artificial Intelligence by 24 EU Member States and Norway, the European AI Alliance, as announced by the European Commission on April 25 2018, is a multi-stakeholder forum engaged in a broad and open discussion of all aspects of Artificial Intelligence development and its impact on the economy and society. The European AI Alliance is aimed at seizing the opportunities of AI, reinforcing Europe’scompetitiveness and establishing the ethical guidelines on the development of the AI.

Emphasizing the importance of the European AI Alliance, Robert Gryn, CEO of Codewise, said, “We are extremely proud to learn that Dr. Paweł Rzeszuciński, a key stakeholder of Codewise’s Artificial Intelligence development team, is joining such a strategic initiative. AI is progressively transforming our economy and society and is increasingly contributing to many sectors of our economy. We feel very reassured by the European Commission’s initiative to support the implementation of a European strategy on AI.

The Commission will present ethical guidelines on AI development by the end of 2018, based on the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, taking into account principles such as data protection and transparency, and building on the work of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. To help develop these guidelines, the Commission will bring together all relevant stakeholders at the European AI Alliance.

The mission of the European AI Alliance strongly resonates with Codewise’s values and vision of transparency-led smart technologies,” said Dr. John Malatesta, President and Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer at Codewise. “As any technology that has a direct impact on people’s and businesses’ lives, the emergence of AI also raises legitimate concerns. We fully endorse the elaboration by the European Commission of recommendations on future AI-related policy development and on ethical, legal and societal issues. In our daily efforts to develop AI technologies at the service of digital marketers, we are equally attentive to the right balance between business efficiency gains on one side and respect for privacy and transparency on the other. The definition of an AI strategy framework will help the entire software industry align to common standards.

The foundation of the European AI Alliance represents a first step towards an EU-wide approach to AI. By establishing clear guidelines on AI ethics, the Commission seeks to increase consumers’ trust in AI-driven products.

Based on the recommendations enacted by the European AI Alliance, the European Commission and participating Member States will present a European plan on Artificial Intelligence by the end of 2018.

 

About Codewise:

Founded in 2011, Codewise is the industry’s first provider of AI-powered online ad measurement and management solutions for digital marketers. For years, Codewise has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe, according to the Financial Times, Statista, and Deloitte.

Codewise’s solutions help thousands of businesses in 190 countries to track, measure, and optimize billions of dollars of advertising spend, boosting their efficiency and ROI like never before. Codewise is currently tracking over $2.5 billion of digital ad spend for some of the world’s largest brands and ad agencies, including $400 million of ad spend on Facebook.

To learn more about Codewise, please visit www.codewise.com.

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European Commission Press Releases

Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo Credits: © European Union , 2015 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Christophe Maout
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Brussels, 6 June 2018 – The European Parliament and the Council reached late last night a political agreement to update the EU’s telecoms rules. The new European Electronic Communications Code, proposed by the Commission, will boost investments in very high-capacity networks across the EU, including in remote and rural areas.

Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip said: “This agreement is essential to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness. We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe.

Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The new telecoms rules are an essential building block for Europe’s digital future. After several months of tough negotiations, we have agreed on bold and balanced rules to provide faster access to radio spectrum, better services and more protection for consumers, as well as greater investment in very high-speed networks.

The agreed rules are crucial for achieving Europe’s connectivity targets and providing everyone in the EU the best possible internet connection, so they can participate fully in the digital economy.

The new Electronic Communications Code will:

  • Enhance the deployment of 5G networks by ensuring the availability of 5G radio spectrum by end of 2020 in the EU and providing operators with predictability for at least 20 years in terms of spectrum licensing; including on the basis of better coordination of planned radio spectrum assignments.

  • Facilitate the roll-out of new, very high capacity fixed networks by making rules for co-investment more predictable and promoting risk sharing in the deployment of very high capacity networks; promoting sustainable competition for the benefit of consumers, with a regulatory emphasis on the real bottlenecks, such as wiring, ducts and cables inside buildings; and a specific regulatory regime for wholesale only operators. Moreover, the new rules will also ensure closer cooperation between the Commission and the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) in supervising measures related to the new key access provisions of co-investment and symmetric regulation.

  • Benefit and protect consumers, irrespective of whether end-users communicate through traditional (calls, sms) or web-based services (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) by:

  • ensuring that all citizens have access to affordable communications services, including universally available internet access, for services such as egovernment, online banking or video calls;
  • ensuring that international calls within the EU will not cost more than 19 cents per minute, while making sure that the new rules would not distort competition, innovation and investment;
  • giving equivalent access to communications for end-users with disabilities;
  • promoting better tariff transparency and comparison of contractual offers;
  • guaranteeing better security against hacking, malware, etc.;
  • better protecting consumers subscribing to bundled service packages;
  • making it easier to change service provider and keep the same phone number, including rules for compensations if the process goes wrong or takes too long;
  • increasing protection of citizens in emergency situations, including retrieving more accurate caller location in emergency situations, broadening emergency communications to  text messaging and video calls, and establishing a system to transmit public warnings on mobile phones.

 

Background

At work, at home or on the move, Europeans expect an internet connection that is fast and reliable. Encouraging investments in very high-capacity networks is increasingly important for education, healthcare, manufacturing or transport. To meet these challenges and prepare Europe’s digital future, in September 2016 the Commission proposed the establishment of a European Electronic Communications Code and a proposal for a Regulation on the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications. The Code will modernise the current EU telecoms rules, which were last updated in 2009, stimulate competition to drive investments and strengthen the internal market and consumer rights.

In March 2018 the Parliament and the Council agreed on the way forward for radio spectrum management to be able to introduce 5G in the EU. Once fully adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, Member States will have two years to transpose the Electronic Communications Code into national law.

For More Information

Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) including data on connectivity per country

More on telecoms

 

IP/18/4070

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