e-Commerce Inquiry : Removing the last Public and Private Barriers

Conférence organisée par la Revue Concurrences en partenariat avec CRA et Shearman & Sterling.

Geo-blocking and EU Competition Law

Thomas Kramler presented the results of the e-commerce sector inquiry, in particular on geo-blocking. He explained that the inquiry stemmed from the Commission’s concern that whilst online commerce, or e-commerce, has grown rapidly, cross-border online commerce has developed much more slowly. The e-commerce sector inquiry forms part of the Digital Single Market strategy through which the Commission aims to remove unjustified barriers restricting online commerce in order to provide consumers and businesses with better access to online goods and services across Europe. The sector inquiry addresses company-erected barriers and is intended to complement the legislative action which will be required to remove regulatory barriers.

The Commission is already making head-way. On December 9th, 2015, it published a ‘portability proposal’, which seeks to overcome national barriers emanating from copyright law by introducing a ‘legal fiction’ according to which consumers who purchase content in one Member State, or who can access content for free provided their location, is verified by the service provider and will be able to temporarily access such content across the EU. Other initiatives relating to consumer goods, VAT and cross-border parcel delivery are expected to follow.

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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