Ondrej Hamuľák, Lilla Nóra Kiss, Tomáš Gábriš and Hovsep Kocharyan: “This Content is not Available in your Country” A General Summary on Geo-Blocking in and Outside the European Union

Summary: The phenomenon of geo-blocking is one of the new challenges of the digital era. Geo-blocking is a modern form of discrimination that differentiates between con-sumers on the basis of their geographical location. The phenomenon ultimately affects the situation of the citizen concerned and may also constitute an obstacle to the single market. Digital time has put a number of issues to be resolved on the legislator’s table in recent years, one of which is the phenomenon of geo-blocking. Already in 2015, the European Commission led by Juncker (2014–2019) adopted the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy, which marked the European Union’s (EU) path towards innovation by creating a new digital dimension of the Single Market. In order to achieve the DSM strategy and the digital objectives, a number of legislative acts have been put in place to address the elements of the DSM and exploit the benefits of technological mod-ernisation. The geo-blocking phenomenon is presented in this study, partly in terms of practical aspects and partly with regard to the geo-blocking regulation. The Ursula von der Leyen-led Commission (2019–2024) identifies “a Europe fit for the digital age” among its six priorities. Among the priorities, the “promotion of a European way of life”, must be linked to the digital priorities, as our smart tools and our digital presence are becoming an integral part of our lives – and our common way of life – especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovation has also been accelerated by the current exceptional situation, the health emergency caused by COVID-19, forcing us to work remotely, remote contacts and the constant use of our smart tools. The realisation of digital well-being is therefore also an integral part of our lifestyle. In the intersection of digitalisation and development and the promotion of a common European way of life, we can find a single market in which we can experience a significant aspect of our Euro-pean way of life – the free movements and cross-border transactions – even through our online presence. The internal market is the dimension for the proper functioning of which the Union institutions can adopt a legislative act. In addition, measures taken to remove barriers and remove obstacles are essential for the functioning of the internal market. Joint action against geo-blocking as an internal market barrier will also play a role in creating digital prosperity by promoting the proper functioning of the internal market by promoting e-commerce and electronic content access. The aim of the study on the one hand is to present issues related to geo-blocking in a brief and descriptive manner from the perspective of the social, economic and legal environment linked to the internal market. On the other hand, the study briefly presents the legal environment of geo-blocking in the USA, Russia, China and Japan.

Co-authors: Ondrej Hamuľák, Lilla Nóra Kiss, Tomáš Gábriš and Hovsep Kocharyan


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