“Deep in My Heart I Hate [Unjustified] Geo-Blocking”

As the plans for the Digital Single Market were unveiled on Wednesday, it is clear that Commission has accepted some of the criticism from the creative sector. The word “unjustified” has been introduced, which allows some wiggle-room going forward – or a “loophole” for “Ansip’s crusade” to disappear through as The Register comments. We’ll see if this is good enough for the creators, though. The Vice President himself thinks so, at the press conference I asked:

You have often talked of a win-win situation in the digital single market. Why then is the creative sector so critical of this proposal?

Ansip answered: We don’t want to destroy the system based on territoriality…(but) I am not supporting absolute territorial exclusivity

 (See the video here)

This answer may seem cryptic to say the least, but in the technical session that followed, the DG Connect deputy director general Roberto Viola mused: “Territoriality is like cholesterol, there is good and bad”.

Viola elaborated that there are three kinds of bad: One. Portability of services must happen. Two. If you are in a member state where the content is not available, it must be possible to access it. The third bad is re-directing customers based on nationality, which is discrimination. The good cholesterol is financing pre-production cinema.

That nicely sums up the policy-makers dilemma, all jokes of having cakes and eating them aside. It also answers why the examples in the Commission documents are now rental cars rather than football games.

The question is if VP Ansip can be as passionate about this compromise as he used to be, the line “Deep in My Heart I Hate [Unjustified] Geo-Blocking” is just not as convincing as the original.