Update: Of course, this was an open source joke. We’re going to keep supporting all the platforms and keep our Kodi username. The XBMC shirt is actually real though, so you are welcome to keep grabbing those if you, but only for a few more days.

As many of you may have noticed, Google has decided to remove autocomplete support for the word Kodi. While the team finds this move disappointing, we’ve determined a real solution for the problem. While Kodi no longer autocompletes, XBMC still does! As such, starting today, we are officially changing our name back to XBMC.

But we’re not stopping there. We’ve had a good long run being a multi-platform system, but at the end of the day covering six or more platforms has become far too much of a stress. Android support alone taxes our resources in a way no volunteer development team can ever reasonably be expected to handle. And all the other platforms just makes this worse. So, in an executive decision that we believe the entire community will support, we at Team XBMC have decided to fully embrace our roots.

Starting today, we would like to announce that we are exclusively supporting only the Xbox One. We will be disabling support for all other platforms in the forum starting immediately and will begin shifting our website to reflect this change in the very near future. The work to make Kodi for Xbox a premier platform has finally paid off!

Making this decision was not easy. For example, there was a lot of debate about whether to fully embrace the name XBMC, or to change to XBOMC (Xbox One Media Center), but at the end of the day, we thought tradition should win out. Also, the current numbering scheme was developed for multiplatform support, so we decided that our upcoming release should be renamed AND RENUMBERED from Kodi 18.0 to XBMC 3.0.0. It just makes sense!

We will be reskinning XBMC 3.0.0 to something a bit more appropriate ASAP. But we’re excited to say that because we are only supporting a single platform, we anticipate full release this April, or at the latest early May!

In addition, we’re excited to announce a limited 3 day sale for this rename featuring XBMC shirts, mugs, and stickers!

Kodi Sale

Thanks for sticking with us all these years! And Android, OSX, iOS, and Linux… see ya later!

Kodi No More! - April Fools 2

Kodi No More! - April Fools 3



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UK IPTV Provider ACE Calls it Quits, Cites Mounting Legal Pressure 5Terms including “Kodi box” are now in common usage in the UK and thanks to continuing coverage in the tabloid media, more and more people are learning that free content is just a few clicks away.

In parallel, premium IPTV services are also on the up. In basic terms, these provide live TV and sports through an Internet connection in a consumer-friendly way. When bundled with beautiful interfaces and fully functional Electronic Program Guides (EPG), they’re almost indistinguishable from services offered by Sky and BTSport, for example.

These come at a price, typically up to £10 per month or £20 for a three-month package, but for the customer this represents good value for money. Many providers offer several thousand channels in decent quality and reliability is much better than free streams. This kind of service was offered by prominent UK provider ACE TV but an announcement last December set alarm bells ringing.

“It saddens me to announce this, but due to pressure from the authorities in the UK, we are no longer selling new subscriptions. This obviously includes trials,” ACE said in a statement.

ACE insisted that it would continue as a going concern, servicing existing customers. However, it did keep its order books open for a while longer, giving people one last chance to subscribe to the service for anything up to a year. And with that ACE continued more quietly in the background, albeit with a disabled Facebook page.

But things were not well in ACE land. Like all major IPTV providers delivering services to the UK, ACE was subjected to blocking action by the English Premier League and UEFA. High Court injunctions allow ISPs in the UK to block their pirate streams in real-time, meaning that matches were often rendered inaccessible to ACE’s customers.

While this blocking can be mitigated when the customer uses a VPN, most don’t want to go to the trouble. Some IPTV providers have engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse with the blocking efforts, some with an impressive level of success. However, it appears that the nuisance eventually took its toll on ACE.

“The ISPs in the UK and across Europe have recently become much more aggressive in blocking our service while football games are in progress,” ACE said in a statement last month.

“In order to get ourselves off of the ISP blacklist we are going to black out the EPL games for all users (including VPN users) starting on Monday. We believe that this will enable us to rebuild the bypass process and successfully provide you with all EPL games.”

People familiar with the blocking process inform TF that this is unlikely to have worked.

Although nobody outside the EPL’s partners knows exactly how the system works, it appears that anti-piracy companies simply subscribe to IPTV services themselves and extract the IP addresses serving the content. ISPs then block them. No pause would’ve helped the situation.

Then, on March 24, another announcement indicated that ACE probably wouldn’t make it very far into 2019.

“It is with sorrow that we announce that we are no longer accepting renewals, upgrades to existing subscriptions or the purchase of new credits. We plan to support existing subscriptions until they expire,” the team wrote.

“EPL games including highlights continue to be blocked and are not expected to be reinstated before the end of the season.”

The suggestion was that ACE would keep going, at least for a while, but chat transcripts with the company obtained by TF last month indicated that ACE would probably shut down, sooner rather than later. Less than a week on, that proved to be the case.

On or around March 29, ACE began sending emails out to customers, announcing the end of the company.

“We recently announced that Ace was no longer accepting renewals or offering new reseller credits but planned to support existing subscription. Due to mounting legal pressure in the UK we have been forced to change our plans and we are now announcing that Ace will close down at the end of March,” the email read.

“This means that from April 1st onwards the Ace service will no longer work.”

April 1 was yesterday and it turns out it wasn’t a joke. Customers who paid in advance no longer have a service and those who paid a year up front are particularly annoyed. So-called ‘re-sellers’ of ACE are fuming more than most.

Re-sellers effectively act as sales agents for IPTV providers, buying access to the service at a reduced rate and making a small profit on each subscriber they sign up. They get a nice web interface to carry out the transactions and it’s something that anyone can do.

However, this generally requires investment from the re-seller in order to buy ‘credits’ up front, which are used to sell services to new customers. Those who invested money in this way with ACE are now in trouble.

“If anyone from ACE is reading here, yer a bunch of fuckin arseholes. I hope your next shite is a hedgehog!!” one shouted on Reddit. “Being a reseller for them and losing hundreds a pounds is bad enough!!”

While the loss of a service is probably a shock to more recent converts to the world of IPTV, those with experience of any kind of pirate TV product should already be well aware that this is nothing out of the ordinary.

For those who bought hacked or cloned satellite cards in the 1990s, to those who used ‘chipped’ cable boxes a little later on, the free rides all come to an end at some point. It’s just a question of riding the wave when it arrives and paying attention to the next big thing, without investing too much money at the wrong time.

For ACE’s former customers, it’s simply a case of looking for a new provider. There are plenty of them, some with zero intent of shutting down. There are rumors that ACE might ‘phoenix’ themselves under another name but that’s also par for the course when people feel they’re owed money and suspicions are riding high.

“Please do not ask if we are rebranding/setting up a new service, the answer is no,” ACE said in a statement.

And so the rollercoaster continues…

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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As many of you may have noticed, Google has decided to remove autocomplete support for the word Kodi. While the team finds this move disappointing, we’ve determined a real solution for the problem. While Kodi no longer autocompletes, XBMC still does! As such, starting today, we are officially changing our name back to XBMC.

But we’re not stopping there. We’ve had a good long run being a multi-platform system, but at the end of the day covering six or more platforms has become far too much of a stress. Android support alone taxes our resources in a way no volunteer development team can ever reasonably be expected to handle. And all the other platforms just makes this worse. So, in an executive decision that we believe the entire community will support, we at Team XBMC have decided to fully embrace our roots.

Starting today, we would like to announce that we are exclusively supporting only the Xbox One. We will be disabling support for all other platforms in the forum starting immediately and will begin shifting our website to reflect this change in the very near future. The work to make Kodi for Xbox a premier platform has finally paid off!

Making this decision was not easy. For example, there was a lot of debate about whether to fully embrace the name XBMC, or to change to XBOMC (Xbox One Media Center), but at the end of the day, we thought tradition should win out. Also, the current numbering scheme was developed for multiplatform support, so we decided that our upcoming release should be renamed AND RENUMBERED from Kodi 18.0 to XBMC 3.0.0. It just makes sense!

We will be reskinning XBMC 3.0.0 to something a bit more appropriate ASAP. But we’re excited to say that because we are only supporting a single platform, we anticipate full release this April, or at the latest early May!

In addition, we’re excited to announce a limited 3 day sale for this rename featuring XBMC shirts, mugs, and stickers!

Kodi Sale

Thanks for sticking with us all these years! And Android, OSX, iOS, and Linux… see ya later!

Kodi No More! 10

Kodi No More! 11



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Forty Percent of All Mexican Roku Users are Pirates 13In recent years it has become much easier to stream movies and TV-shows over the Internet.

Legal services such as Netflix and HBO are flourishing, but there’s also a darker side to this streaming epidemic.

Millions of people are streaming from unauthorized sources, often paired with perfectly legal streaming platforms and devices. This issue has become particularly problematic for Roku, which sells easy-to-use media players.

Last week federal judges in Mexico City and Torreón decided that Roku sales should remain banned there, keeping last year’s suspension in place. While the ruling can still be appealed, it hurts Roku’s bottom line.

The company has more than a million users in Mexico according to statistics released by the Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), a local market research firm. That’s a significant number, but so is the percentage of pirating Roku users in Mexico.

“Roku has 1.1 million users in the country, of which 40 percent use it to watch content illegally,” Gonzalo Rojon, ICU’s director of ICT research, writes.

“There are 575 thousand users who access the illegal content and that is comparable to the number of subscribers a small pay-TV operator has,” he adds.

While this is indeed a significant number, that doesn’t make the Roku boxes illegal by default. There are millions who use Windows to pirate stuff, or web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, but these are generally not seen as problematic.

Still, several Mexican judges have ruled that sales should be banned so for the time being it remains that way.

According to Rojon, these type of measures are imperative to ensure that copyright holders are protected from online piracy, now that more and more content is moving online.

“Although for some people this type of action seems radical, I think it is very important that the shift towards more digitalization is accompanied by copyright and intellectual property protection, so it continues to promote innovation and a healthy competitive environment in the digital world,” he notes.

Roku clearly disagrees and last week the company told us that it will do everything in its power to have the current sales ban overturned.

“While Roku’s devices have always been and remain legal to use in Mexico, the current ban harms consumers, the retail sector and the industry. We will vigorously pursue further legal actions with the aim of restoring sales of Roku devices in Mexico,” the company said.

Meanwhile, Roku is working hard to shake the piracy elements off its platform. Last year it began showing FBI warnings to users of ‘pirate channels’ and just this week removed the entire USTVnow service from its platform.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Russia Asked ISPs to Block 13.5 Million Amazon IP Addresses to Silence One App 18Russia is developing a track record of being one of the most aggressive countries on the site-blocking front. Already many thousands of sites are rendered inaccessible to the general public but just how far will the government go to achieve its aims?

If reports coming out this week hold true, extremely far indeed.

The controversy centers around an app called Zello, which acts as a kind of ‘walkie-talkie’, assisting communication between close friends or in groups of up to a thousand people.

The app gained a lot of press in 2017 when it was revealed it was being used as an unofficial rescue co-ordination tool while Hurricane Harvey was battering the United States. It quickly shot to the top of the download charts after being downloaded a million times in a day.

But while the app clearly has some fantastic uses, Zello seems to represent a challenge to the authority of the Russian government.

Under the so-called ‘Yarovaya law‘, services like Zello, ISPs, and other telecoms companies, are required to register with Russian telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor. Amendments to come into force this year also require them to store the actual content of user communications for six months and metadata (such as who communicated with who, when, and for how long) for three years.

Encrypted services are also required to share keys which allow law enforcement bodies so that they can decrypt messages sent and received by users, something which has communications and VPN companies extremely concerned.

Until now, Zello has reportedly failed to register itself so as a result, the service has become a blocking target for Russian authorities. Zello uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) and last summer it was reported that dozens of Amazon’s IP addresses ended up on Russia’s official blacklist. This week, however, a much more worrying proposition raised its head.

Operators of at least four Internet service providers confirmed to Russia’s Vedomosti that Rozcomnadzor had issued recommendations that they block access to Zello. Copies of letters to the ISPs were published on Telegram and according to reports, most if not all of the country’s ISPs were targeted.

While blocking Zello would be bad enough, the suggestion of how that should take place is nothing short of astounding. The letter speaks of “an experiment” in which ISPs take action to block 36 Internet subnets – representing a staggering 15 million IP addresses – in order to take Zello down.

A total of 26 of those subnets have been identified as belonging to Amazon, accounting for 13.5 million IP addresses in total. Some are reportedly operated by Comcast, others by Softlayer, with the remainder connected to companies in China.

“The subnets selected by Roskomnadzor are not all Amazon’s IP addresses, but they account for a significant portion of the addresses from two large regions of the United States where the company’s data centers are located,” Vedomosti said, quoting a source familiar with Amazon’s infrastructure.

Zello founder and technical director Alexei Gavrilov said that he wasn’t surprised by the news and noted that he’d learned about the list of addresses from Telegram channels. However, it’s claimed that Zello doesn’t completely depend on the listed subnets, meaning that hundreds or thousands of other services unrelated to the app would end up as collateral damage, should they be blocked.

Neither Rozkomnadzor nor Amazon have commented publicly on the news and Russia’s Ministry of Communications has refused to comment. Fortunately, at the time of writing there have been no reports of ISPs mass-blocking IP addresses connected to Zello.

Whether Russia would really flex its muscles so broadly and aggressively just to prove a point is unknown but with the growing war on privacy the way it is, almost anything seems possible.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Iflix Sees Piracy as Main Competitor, Not Netflix 23While Netflix is without a doubt the most used paid video streaming service worldwide, there are dozens of smaller players fighting for a piece of the pie.

Iflix is one of these companies. The service is available in 25 countries across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, streaming movies and TV-shows to 6.5 million subscribers.

In the coming years, the streaming service hopes to expand its reach by offering a better product than its competition. This includes the likes of Netflix and Amazon, but iflix sees piracy as its main adversary.

“That is really the big player,” Sherwin dela Cruz, iflix’s country manager, says in an interview with ANC’s The Boss.

“The sooner we get people to pay for our service and watch content in one of the real services, I think that’s when we can say that the market is really growing.”

Dela Cruz sees the music industry as a good example, where services such as Spotify offer a relatively complete alternative to piracy. As a result, illegal downloading has decreased in countries where it became available.

“That’s sort of like the aspiration for us – to get more people to have just one, two or three services and just watch what they want to watch on their mobile phones without really looking at pirated content,” dela Cruz says.

Interestingly, iflix doesn’t only see piracy as a problem that needs to be quashed. At the moment, they also use it as market intelligence to find out what content local audiences are interested in.

Iflix uses the German company TECXIPIO, which is known to actively monitor BitTorrent traffic, to track local piracy trends. In addition, they also buy pirated DVDs from street vendors to find out what people want.

This information is used to license the content people are most interested in, so it can offer the best possible alternative to piracy.

The company previously informed us that they believe that piracy is a signal from the public that they can’t get what they want through legal options. Going forward, Iflix hopes to grow its user base by directly competing with piracy.

“We believe that people in emerging markets do not actively want to steal content, they do so because there is no better alternative,” iflix concludes.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Iflix Sees Piracy as Main Competitor, Not Netflix 26



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The project needs help. We would like to start releasing new images for a number of Amlogic and Rockchip devices including long talked-about (and needed) generic catch-all images, but this has a major impact on project resources. LE 7.0 released 8x images, LE 8.0/8.2 has 11x images, and LE 9.0 increases output to 22x images with another increase on the horizon once Allwinner support becomes possible and NXP (iMX) support is re-added. Increased output impacts our build server/slave capacity and requires us to rethink how our images are tested. It also affects our human resources (the other kind of build...



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Streaming Joshua v Parker is Illegal But Re-Streaming is the Real Danger 28This Saturday evening, Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker will string up their gloves and do battle in one of the most important heavyweight bouts of recent times.

Joshua will put an unbeaten professional record and his WBA, IBF and IBO world titles on the line. Parker – also unbeaten professionally – will put his WBO belt up for grabs. It’s a mouthwatering proposition for fight fans everywhere.

While the collision will take place at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff in front of a staggering 80,000 people, millions more will watch the fight in front of the TV at home, having paid Sky Sports Box Office up to £24.95 for the privilege.

Of course, hundreds of thousands won’t pay a penny, instead relying on streams delivered via illicit Kodi addons, Android apps, and IPTV services. While these options are often free, quality and availability on the night is far from guaranteed. Even those paying for premium ‘pirate’ access have been let down at the last minute but in the scheme of things, that’s generally unlikely.

Despite the uncertainty, this morning the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and Federation Against Copyright Theft took the unusual step of issuing a joint warning to people thinking of streaming the fight to their homes illegally.

“Consumers need to be aware that streaming without the right permissions or subscriptions is no longer a grey area,” PIPCU and FACT said in a statement.

“In April last year the EU Court of Justice ruled that not only was selling devices allowing access to copyrighted content illegal, but using one to stream TV, sports or films without an official subscription is also breaking the law.”

The decision, which came as part of the BREIN v Filmspeler case, found that obtaining a copyright-protected work “from a website belonging to a third party offering that work without the consent of the copyright holder” was an illegal act.

While watching the fight via illicit streams is undoubtedly illegal, tracking people who simply view content is extremely difficult and there hasn’t been a single prosecution in the UK (or indeed anywhere else that we’re aware of) against anyone doing so.

That being said, those who make content available for others to watch illegally are putting themselves at considerable risk. While professional pirate re-streamers tend to have better security, Joe Public who points his phone at his TV Saturday night to stream the fight on Facebook should take time out to consider his actions.

In January, Sky revealed that 34-year-old Craig Foster had been caught by the company after someone re-streamed the previous year’s Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko fight on Facebook Live using Foster’s Sky account.

Foster had paid Sky for the fight but he claims that a friend used his iPad to record the screen and re-stream the fight to Facebook. Sky, almost certainly using tracking watermarks (example below), traced the ‘pirate’ stream back to Foster’s set-top box.

Watermarks during the Mayweather v McGregor fight

Streaming Joshua v Parker is Illegal But Re-Streaming is the Real Danger 29

The end result was a technical knockout for Sky who suspended Foster’s Sky subscription and then agreed not to launch a lawsuit providing he paid the broadcaster £5,000.

“The public should be aware that misusing their TV subscriptions has serious repercussions,” said PIPCU and FACT referring to the case this morning.

“For example, customers found to be illegally sharing paid-for content can have their subscription account terminated immediately and can expect to be prosecuted and fined.”

While we know for certain this has happened at least once, TorrentFreak contacted FACT this morning for details on how many Sky subscribers have been caught, warned, and/or prosecuted by Sky in this manner. FACT told us they don’t have any figures but offered the following statement from CEO Kieron Sharp.

“Not only is FACT working closely with broadcasters and rights owners to identify the original source of illegally re-streamed content, but with support from law enforcement, government and social media platforms, we are tightening the net on digital piracy,” Sharp said.

Finally, it’s also worth keeping in mind that even when people live-stream an illegal yet non-watermarked stream to Facebook, they can still be traced by Sky.

As revelations this week have shown only too clearly, Facebook knows a staggering amount about its users so tracking an illegal stream back to a person would be child’s play for a determined rightsholder with a court order.

While someone attracting a couple of dozen viewers might not be at a major risk of repercussions, a viral stream might require the use of a calculator to assess the damages claimed by Sky. Like boxing, this kind of piracy is best left to the professionals to avoid painful and unnecessary trauma.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Roku Removes USTVnow Service Following “3rd Party” Copyright Complaint 34Earlier this week, customers of the popular Roku streaming media player began complaining about a problem with the product, specifically in connection with USTVnow.

USTVnow promotes itself as a service targeted at American expats and the military, offering “a wide range of live American channels to watch on their computer, mobile device or television.”

Indeed, USTVnow offers a fairly comprehensive service, with eight channels (including ABC and FOX) on its free tier and 24 channels on its premium $29.00 per month package.

USTVnow’s top package

Roku Removes USTVnow Service Following “3rd Party” Copyright Complaint 35

Having USTVnow available via Roku helps to spread the free tier and drive business to the paid tier but, as of this week, that’s stopped happening. USTVnow has been completely removed from the Roku platform, much to the disappointment of customers.

“I spoke to Roku support and [they told me] that USTVNOW is no longer available for Roku at this time,” a user in Roku’s forums complained.

In response, a Roku engineer said that “Roku has been asked to remove this channel by the content rights owner”, which was as confusing as it was informative.

USTVnow endorses the Roku product, actively promotes it on the front page of its site, and provides helpful setup guides.

So, in an effort to get to the bottom of the problem, TorrentFreak contacted Roku, asking for details. The company responded quickly.

“Yes, that is correct, the channel was removed from our platform,” Roku spokesperson Tricia Misfud confirmed.

“When we receive a notice regarding copyright infringement we are swift to review which in this case resulted in us removing the channel.”

Roku pointed us to its copyright infringement page which details its policies and actions when a complaint is received. However, that didn’t really help to answer why it would remove USTVnow when USTVnow promotes the Roku service.

So we asked Roku again to elaborate on who filed the notice and on what grounds.

“The notice was in regards to the copyright of the content,” came the response.

While not exactly clear, this suggested that USTVnow wasn’t the problem but someone else. Was it a third-party perhaps? If so, who, and what was the content being complained about?

“It was from a third party,” came the vague response.

With USTVnow completely unavailable via Roku, there are some pretty annoyed customers out there. However, it seems clear that at least for now, the company either can’t or won’t reveal the precise details of the complaint.

It could conceivably be from one of the major channels offered in the USTVnow package but equally, it could be a DMCA notice from a movie or TV show copyright holder who objects to their content being distributed on the device, or even USTVnow itself.

USTVnow has a deal with Nittany Media to provide streaming services based on Nittany’s product but there is always a potential for a licensing problem somewhere, potentially big ones too.

We’ll update this article if and when more information becomes available.

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

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Roku Removes USTVnow Service Following “3rd Party” Copyright Complaint 38



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EU Content Rules to Improve Access & Reduce Piracy Start April 1 40Any subscriber of a service like Netflix will tell you that where you live can have a big impact on the content made available. Customers in the US enjoy large libraries while less populous countries are treated less well.

For many years and before Netflix largely closed the loophole, customers would bypass these restrictions, using VPNs to trick Netflix into thinking they were elsewhere. Some wouldn’t bother with the complication, choosing to pirate content instead.

But for citizens of the EU, things were even more complex. While the EU mandates free movement of people, the same can’t be said about licensing deals. While a viewer in the Netherlands could begin watching a movie at home, he could travel to France for a weekend break only to find that the content he paid for is not available, or only in French.

Last May, this problem was addressed by the European Parliament with an agreement to introduce new ‘Cross-border portability’ rules that will give citizens the freedom to enjoy their media wherever they are in the EU, without having to resort to piracy or VPNs – if they can find one that still works for any length of time with the service.

Now, almost 11 months on, the rules are about to come into force. From Sunday, content portability in the EU will become a reality.

“Citizens are at the core of all our digital initiatives. As of 1 April, wherever you are traveling to in the EU, you will no longer miss out on your favorite films, TV series, sports broadcasts, games or e-books, that you have digitally subscribed to at home,” European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip said in a statement.

“Removing the boundaries that prevented Europeans from traveling with digital media and content subscriptions is yet another success of the Digital Single Market for our citizens, following the effective abolition of roaming charges that consumers all over Europe have enjoyed since June 2017.”

This is how it will work. Consumers in the EU who buy or subscribe to films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books or games in their home Member States will now be able to access this content when they reside temporarily in another EU country.

So, if a person in the UK purchases Netflix to gain access to a TV show to watch in their home country, Netflix will have to add this content to the customer’s library so they can still access it wherever they travel in the EU, regardless of its general availability elsewhere.

“[P]roviders of paid-for online content services (such as online movie, TV or music streaming services) have to provide their subscribers with the same service wherever the subscriber is in the EU,” the Commission explains.

“The service needs to be provided in the same way in other Member States, as in the Member State of residence. So for Netflix for example, you will have access to the same selection (or catalog) anywhere in the EU, if you are temporarily abroad, just as if you were at home.”

The same should hold true for all other digital content. If it’s available at home, it must be made available elsewhere in Europe in order to comply with the regulations. In doing so, providers are allowed some freedom, provided it’s in the customer’s favor. If they want to give customers additional access to full home and overseas catalogs when they’re traveling, for example, that is fine.

There’s also a plus in there for content providers. While a company like Netflix will sometimes acquire rights on a per country basis, when a citizen travels abroad within the EU they will not be required to obtain licenses for those other territories where their subscribers stay temporarily.

There is, however, a question of what “temporarily” means since it’s not tightly defined in the regulations. The term will cover business trips and holidays, for example, but providers will be required to clearly inform their customers of their precise terms and conditions.

Providers will also need to determine a customer’s home country, something that will be established when a customer signs up or renews his contract. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including via payment details, a contract for an Internet or telephone connection, verifying a home address, or using a simple IP address check.

For providers of free online services, which are allowed to choose whether they want to be included in the new rules or not, there are special conditions in place.

“Once they opt-in and allow portability under the Regulation, all rules will apply to them in the same manner as for the paid services. This means that the subscribers will have to log-in to be able to access and use content when temporarily abroad, and service providers will have to verify the Member State of residence of the subscriber,” the Commission explains.

“If providers of free of charge online content services decide to make use of the new portability rules, they are required to inform their subscribers about this decision prior to providing the service. Such information could, for example, be announced on the providers’ websites.”

The good news for consumers is that providers will not be able to charge for offering content portability and if they don’t provide it as required, they’ll be in breach of EU rules. The EU believes that all providers are ready to meet the standard – the public will find out on Sunday.

The new rules can be found here (pdf)

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and more. We also have VPN reviews, discounts, offers and coupons.

EU Content Rules to Improve Access & Reduce Piracy Start April 1 41 EU Content Rules to Improve Access & Reduce Piracy Start April 1 42

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