In our 21 June blog we reported that the text of this, the first legislative proposal published by the Commission under the Digital Single Market strategy banner, had been finalised by the European Parliament and Council. The Regulation on ensuring the cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market ((EU) 2017/1128), to give it its formal title, has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union (on 30 June 2017). That means the key dates for businesses providing portable online content services are now known. These are:-

20 March 2018: Regulation becomes applicable, with direct legal effect in all EU Member States.

By this date providers of paid-for online content services which are portable in subscribers’ home Member States must have enabled access for subscribers to those same services when they are temporarily present in another Member State, and without any additional charge.

There is no such obligation on providers whose services are not paid for, but those providers may opt in at any time. If they do, they must first inform their subscribers and all the holders of rights in the content accessible via their service. In other respects, once opted in, the Regulation applies to these service providers with equal effect.

However, the provider is not under the obligation to safeguard the same level of quality as regards the delivery of the service at the place of travel. The legislator appreciates that such condition could lead to unreasonable cost at the provider’s end. Thus the quality does not need to be beyond the quality available via the local online access chosen by a subscriber while temporarily present in another Member State.

21 May 2018: Verification deadline

By this date providers of paid-for services must have verified the “Member State of residence” of each existing subscriber, using up to two of ten prescribed categories of verification method.

After 21 May 2018: Ongoing verification

Member State of residence must be verified at the point of contracting (for new subscribers) and upon renewal (for all subscribers), and may also be re-verified at any other time if the service provider has reasonable doubts about a subscriber’s Member State of residence.

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DSM watch will be back with a round-up of all of the key provisions of the Regulation as these deadlines loom closer, but in the meantime the official text of the Online Portability Regulation can be found here.