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Geo-blocking, cloud computing and collaborative economy: Eu Commission launches two consultations

“We want to hear from citizens, manufacturers, retailers, especially SMEs, right holders, data and cloud service providers and users, as well as all those involved in the collaborative economy”. Are the reasons why the European Commission is launching a public debate with two new consultations: one on geo-blocking and the other one on platforms and online intermediaries. “The consultation on geo-blocking and other forms of geographically-based restrictions – explains the Commission – will gather opinions on unjustified commercial barriers which prevent from buying and selling products and services within the Eu. It covers, for example, customers who are charged different prices or offered a different range of goods depending on where they live, but it does not cover copyright-protected content and content licensing practices”. The consultation will help Bruxelles prepare legislative proposals in the first half of 2016 to end unjustified geo-blocking, which could include targeted change to the e-Commerce rules and to the framework set out by Article 20 of the Services Directive and will contribute to the roll-out of the Internal Market Strategy.

Eurobarometer on “Cross-border access to online content”

The second consultation “will look at the economic role of online platforms, which include, for example, search engines, social media, video sharing website, app stores, etc. It will also explore the liability of intermediaries as regards illegal content hosted online and how to improve the free flow of data in the EU and to build a European Cloud. It will look as well into the possibilities and potential issues raised by the rise of the collaborative economy”. Views expressed and information gathered will help the Commission “assess the need for, or prepare initiatives as part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Internal Market Strategy for Goods and Services and its European Cloud initiative.

“These consultations – said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs – will provide important evidence for our reflections on how to upgrade our single market to make the most of the digital economy and foster innovation and new business models such as the collaborative economy and put an end to unjustified discrimination of consumers in the internal market”.

Both consultations will run until late December 2015 (for a 12 weeks period starting on the date on when consultations texts are published in all official languages).

The Commission is also seeking views in DSM-related public consultations on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, the Cable-Satellite Directive, an evaluation and review of EU telecoms rules, the needs for Internet speed and quality beyond 2020 and ICT standards.

25 September 2015

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