Key Finding: Rights owners, broadcasters and operators of digital content services will need to consider adjusting their standard acquisition and/or licensing agreements following Brexit.
Background: The EU Portability Regulation is a fairly recent addition to copyright law in the EU, and allows consumers across the EEA to access online content services to which they subscribe (such as Sky Go and Netflix) as if they are at home, when they travel within the EEA. The practical effect of the regulation on UK broadcasters and operators of digital media services is to compel them to provide the content that would be ordinarily available in the UK to a UK customer who is temporarily present in another member state. The same applies to EEA customers temporarily visiting the UK. The regulation applies only to travel between EEA member states (so does not apply outside the EEA).
Changes Following Brexit: After Brexit, the EU Portability Regulation will no longer apply to UK-EEA travel. In the UK, the Regulation will be revoked and operators of content services will cease to be obliged to comply with its provisions. It is possible that service providers will continue to offer cross-border portability to their customers on a voluntary basis, but whether or not they will be able to will require the permission of the owners of the content they provide.
Practical Effects: Accordingly, copyright owners (including sports rights owners, production companies and media houses) and copyright licensees (including broadcasters and digital media service operators) will need to re-think their position on cross-order portability for UK consumers, examine existing media rights agreements, and consider re-drafting their standard acquisition/licensing agreements in anticipation of the revocation of the Regulation.