Spotify and Netflix could be blocked for UK citizens on holiday after no-deal brexit

Spotify, Netflix and other online streaming services could be blocked to British citizens on holiday in Europe if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the government has admitted.

At the moment, ‘geo-blocking’ regulation ensures that streaming services are not allowed to discriminate between someone when they are at home in the UK or if they are travelling to the rest of Europe. Users can go on holiday to France and still have full access to their Netflix films and Spotify music, for instance.

But a tranche of newly-released official documents about the anticipated impact of a no-deal Brexit includes a paper that suggests the ‘geo-blocking’ arrangement that currently exists with the bloc would “cease to have effect”.

“Following repeal of the Geo-Blocking Regulation in the UK, traders from the UK, EU and third countries would not be prohibited from discriminating between EU customers and UK customers,” it says.

“For instance a UK trader would be able to offer different terms to a UK customer compared to a French customer.”

Companies based in the UK and selling products and services in the EU will still have to comply with the regulation, to ensure that they don’t discriminate between people in different countries within Europe.

The new geo-blocking rules go into effect in December 2018, meaning that UK citizens will get to enjoy them for around three months before a possible no-deal Brexit in March 2019.

The paper covering ‘Geo-blocking of online content if there’s no Brexit deal’ is one of a range of papers released in the latest set of documents from the UK government. They also include new documents showing Britain could no longer benefit from deals that represent a significant portion of UK trade and that train journeys into and out of the EU could be disrupted.