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Geoblocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302

From 3 December 2018, the Geoblocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302 will be applied. It aims to end unjustified discrimination in online purchases on the basis of nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market. It entered into force in all EU Member States on 23 March 2018 and amends Regulations (EC) 2006/2004 and (EU) 2017/2394 as well as Directive 2009/22/EC.

This Regulation benefits in particular consumers who subscribe to an online content service in their home country (EU) and temporarily reside in another EU country, since the provider of such an online content service must be able to provide its subscribers with access to the paid service during a visit to another EU country in the same way as in their country of residence.

However, there is no obligation for the provider to provide a similar quality unless agreed with the subscriber. However, the quality must not be deliberately reduced.

When concluding or renewing a contract, the provider must carry out sufficient and effective checks on the EU country of residence of the subscriber. In doing so, the provider must make use of a maximum of two sources of information. These may be, for example, an identity card or other valid identity document confirming the EU country of the subscriber, the location of the device providing the service, information from a electoral roll, provided it is public, and the billing or mailing address.

If the subscriber does not provide information about a country of residence, or if it is therefore not verifiable, the provider is not obliged to provide its service in another country.

Where a service is provided free of charge, the provider may allow its subscribers to access and use the service during a temporary stay in an EU country, provided that the EU country of residence is verified in accordance with this Regulation.

The Geoblocking Regulation (EU) 2018/302 covers online content services such as video on demand (e.g. Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Mubi or Chili TV), online television (e.g. Viaplay by Viasat, Now TV by Sky or Voyo), music streaming (e.g. Spotify, Deezer or Google Music) or platforms for online games (e.g. Steam or Origin).