On 8 June 2017, the Council of the European Union adopted the new regulation on the portability of digital services across the EU, whereby consumers who paid for online content services in their home country will be able to access them when visiting another country within the EU.

The regulation applies to all online content services which are provided against payment of money. Free to air services, such as those provided by certain public broadcasters, will have the option of benefiting from the regulation provided that they verify the country of residence of their subscribers.

The regulation aims to remove obstacles to cross-border portability of online services arising from the fact that the rights for the transmission of content protected by copyright are often licensed on a territorial basis. The new measures intend to ensure equal access from abroad to content legally acquired or subscribed to in the member state of residence when on holidays, business trips or limited student stays. To avoid abuses, service providers will verify the subscribers' member state of residence. The details for this verification process (which will have to be carried out in linewith EU data protection rules) have also been subject to lenghty discussions and it will have to be seen how the proposed mechanism works in practice.

The new rules will start to apply in the first quarter of 2018 (nine months after its publication in the EU's Official Journal).

See the Council's press release here.