• DIGITALEUROPE publishes its position on the geoblocking Regulation

    7 November 2016On 4 November, DIGITALEUROPE published its detailed views on the Geoblocking Regulation. The document covers the issues which DIGITALEUROPE believes policy makers must take into consideration when discussing the proposed legislation. The proposed Regulation will not contribute to the objective of boosting eCommerce in Europe, as it does not remedy any of the barriers traders face when trading online, making cross-border trade even more complex.

    Applicable law - The link between this Regulation and the Rome I Regulation (and the related CJEU jurisprudence) must be clarified in order to ensure, as intended by the Commission proposal, that traders can “sell like at home”.

    Online interfaces - The concept of “online interfaces” must be strictly defined to ensure stronger legal certainty and clearer consumer expectations. It must be clarified that the concept of online interfaces do not include portals that sell and distribute applications, as apps themselves are protected under copyright law.

    Consent for re-routing –The proposal should not be interpreted as requiring opt-in consent every time there is a redirect, as this would lead to terrible user experience.

    Explanation to consumers when blocking/limiting access or re-routing - The obligation to provide information in the language of the online interface that the user wanted to access creates unnecessary costs especially for SMEs, which would have to develop a statement in the 23 official languages of the European Union.

    B2B - The scope of the Regulation should be limited to B2C relations only.

    Pick-up by the consumer - DIGITALEUROPE calls for an explicit statement that there is no obligation for the trader to make their premises accessible to the public if a consumer decides to pick-up the good.

    Electronically-provided services - The proposal does not address its relationship with obligations under the 2015 VAT Directive. This Regulation should not apply in cases it puts the trader in conflict with his obligations under VAT rules. Considerations also have to be given to the technical feasibility of making such services available cross-border. The scope of the Regulation has to be understood as excluding services subject to such technical constraints and/or for which specific service level agreements have been negotiated between the parties.

    Payment - The text should state that payment obligations only become applicable when the provision on access is applicable. Clarifications are also needed with regards to the implications on specific local means of payments and the risk of seeing more expensive transactions to compensate the extra payment cost created as well as whether special financing plans or loans offered to local customers should be made available to customers from another EU country - the interaction with PSD2.

    Passive sales agreements – By stating that contracts which include restrictions on passive sales “shall be automatically void”, the proposed Regulation contradicts existing competition law. The text should be amended to be aligned with existing competition rules.

    To access the position paper, please click here. To access our infographic on why products and services are not sold everywhere in Europe, please click here.

    Damir Filipovic Photo Damir Filipovic

    Marion Ebel
    Policy Manager
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