El bloqueo geográfico

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On March 2, Regulation 2018/302 on addressing unjustified geo-blocking and other forms of discrimination based on customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment within the internal market was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Although the regulation will come into force 20 days after its publication, its provisions will not apply until December 3, 2018. From that date, traders must guarantee that users can access the sale of goods and services online without any restrictions based on their geographical location.

Currently, only 37% of websites permit online sales from an EU Member State different to the seller’s Member State without any restriction. For more details about the regulation’s content, see our post dated February 13, 2018.

The regulation includes a review clause obliging the European Commission (EC) to evaluate the regulation’s impact within the first two years of coming into force (before March 23, 2020) and every five years after that. The EC must evaluate the impact of the regulation on the internal market and crossborder ecommerce, particularly the potential additional administrative and financial burden for traders stemming from the existence of different applicable regulatory consumer law regimes. Where necessary, the EC will include a proposal for amending the regulation in its evaluation report. It could recommend extending the regulation’s scope of application to those sectors that are currently excluded.

In March 2020, the EC will assess the possible extension of the ban on geo-blocking to the sale of copyright protected works, including ebooks, music downloads, online games and IT programs, and to other digital products and services.

Application of the geo-blocking regulation to the transport, social and health services, and retail financial services distribution sectors will depend on the EC’s regular analysis.

Authors: Cristina Vila and Nuria Portella

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cristina.vila@cuatrecasas.com

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