Old video cassette with Netflix

You are waiting for a delayed flight from Alicante, thinking, all’s not lost. Let’s see what the fine femmes of Litchfield have been up to in Orange Is The New Black to pass the time. Only to be presented with “Error message: this content is unavailable due to rights reasons”. Sorry folks, your content has been blocked.

This is made possible thanks to geo-blocking technology that enables service providers to limit access to their services depending on which territory you are in.

Well, not for much longer. The European Commission sees geo-blocking as an obstacle to the single market and is bringing in regulations to stop the blocks. Currently, there are only plans to apply this to paid for services (BBC’s Eastenders will have to wait until you’re back in Blighty) but from March 2018, you should be able to enjoy all your Netlfix, Spotify and other content with you in any EU Member States.

For consumers, this means more countries for your cash – great. But what about rights holders? If you own the rights to a production, piece of music or licensed footage, it is common to grant rights on a territory by territory basis as a way to maximise revenue. Under these new regulations, territory restrictions within the EU will not be enforceable against the service providers.

If you are a rights owner or library who licenses materials out or you are a content creator or service provider that licenses content in, you will need to review your licence agreements and consider these expanded territories when agreeing fees.

Briffa advises on both rights licensing and enforcement. Contact info@briffa.com for more information or for a free consultation.