The European Parliament voted 557 to 89 on Tuesday in favor of a regulation that bans “geoblocking” — the practice of restricting internet content to particular geographic locations — for most types of online content.
The move is set to widen access to many online services, including shopping and car rentals, within the European Union, where many companies continue to use geoblocking to restrict their content nationally. But copyrighted material, including video streaming platforms, computer games and e-books, are exempt, a decision Europe’s primary consumer rights organizations has sharply criticized.
How geoblocking works: In some cases, companies recognize an internet user’s location and either block them from accessing the restricted content or redirect them to another website that permits their location. In others, companies block services to users that have an address or credit card registered in a restricted country. Restrictions allow companies to charge different prices depending on a consumer’s location.
What is absent from the …