Brexit: Netflix 'passport' not yet decided

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Image source, Reuters

It is too early to say whether so-called content portability rules will extend to UK citizens after Brexit, the government has told the BBC.

The new rules let people access local versions of subscription streaming and download services such as Netflix while visiting other EU countries.

Some newspapers said the European Commission wanted to "block" UK citizens from services after Brexit.

But the government said portability was still subject to negotiations.

Any change to the rules would not prevent subscribers accessing Netflix, but they might be limited to another country's content, which would be determined by local rights agreements.

Media passport

From Sunday, the new EU regulations will let people who subscribe to video and music platforms access the "home" version of their account while visiting other countries in the EU.

Providers offering paid services - such as Sky's Now TV, Spotify and Apple Music - will have to follow the new rules.

Services offering paid film, music, and video-game downloads and e-books must also let customers access their purchases while on holiday in the EU.

However, free services will be able to choose whether to offer access overseas.


On Wednesday, the European Commission issued guidance for copyright holders such as broadcasters and video streaming services.

It said UK citizens would be able to use their subscriptions while visiting EU countries until at least 29 March 2019.

But it said "persons residing in the UK will no longer benefit from their digital content subscriptions when travelling to the EU" after Brexit.

This was interpreted as an attempt to "block" services after Brexit by some newspapers.

But the UK government told the BBC that no decision had been reached.

"The government is committed to securing the best deal for British consumers. Arrangements on portability would be subject to any negotiations," it said in a statement.