Step-by-step we see the lights of dawn for a European eBook market as the EU Commission and other EU institutions continue its work to create a European market for content and media. According to the new proposal that concerns geoblocking, all EU buyers abroad should be treated as locals, which means that EU-citizens should be able to buy digital- and physical products across the European borders without any price restriction or other obstacles. The members of the European Parliament added to receive e-books, e-music, games or software (i.e. non-audiovisual copyrighted content) if the trader has the right or a license to use such content for the countries concerned should be included in the proposal. This means that movies and broadcasted sports events are not covered at this point. Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee rapporteur Roza Thun (EPP, PL) explained the strategy in the following way:
“Our work aims at a gradual opening of the European market for consumers and for traders by giving them clear rules. Consumers will have better access to goods and services online and for traders, it will be less burdensome to sell to consumers from different member states.”
However, according to Publishers Weekly concerns have been raised among booksellers. The European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) even claims that the proposed law may force many small- and medium-sized booksellers to abandon selling e-books because of the complexity of different VAT-rates and other rules in different members of the EU. This is administrative tasks that small- and medium-sized booksellers can not afford or have time with. This besides the use of different currencies within the EU makes the proposed law to only benefit the biggest book retailers like Amazon, Apple and Google, according to EIBF. The obvious solution with the step-by-step approach of integrating the single market in mind. The next step would be a common EU VAT-rate for digital goods to solve the first issue, while the EU-currency is the euro even though some countries remains outside the euro zone the EU-citizens are not. Source: European Parliament and Publishers Weekly
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