EU unveils plans to boost e-commerce, overhaul broadcasting rules

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday proposals aimed at making it easier for the 500 million consumers in the European Union to make online cross-border purchases, as part of a strategy to boost e-commerce in the 28-country bloc.

The recommendations also require online video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon to bear some of the production cost of European works either by directly investing in them or by paying into national funds.

The proposals need approval from the 28 EU countries and European Parliament before they can become law..

Here are the key elements of the EU plans:


-- Proposal applies to e-commerce websites such as Amazon, eBay and Zalando as well sales of services provided in a specific location, for example car rental, summer accommodation and concert tickets.

-- Geoblocking only allowed where national or EU laws obliges traders to block access to the his products or services such as a ban on sales of alcohol to non-residents.

-- Copyright-protected online services such as e-books, music, and games not covered by the proposal for now but subject to a future review.


-- No single law to regulate Facebook, Google and eBay, proposal targets specific problems in areas such as copyright and telecoms

-- No change in current rules which say that online platforms are not liable for the content they hold and transmit passively


-- Obliges online video streaming services providers such as Netflix and Amazon to devote at least a fifth of their catalog to European works.

-- An option for EU member states requiring streaming services not based in that country but targeting their audience to contribute financially to the production of European works.


-- Obliges parcel delivery companies to publish domestic and cross-border prices for basic services and gives national authorities the power to assess whether they are affordable enough.

-- National postal operators will have to give other operators access to cross-border parcel delivery services.


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