One of the important areas that Europe is leading on is that of the digital market. It’s an area that is of growing importance in all sorts of ways to the economies go European countries. Literally millions of people use the internet to buy all sorts of things but also it provides employment to many thousands too.
The digital marketplace grows exponentially every year, yet outmoded rules, laws and regulations govern our transactions. What’s more there is no real accepted standard, a digital transaction can easily encompass two or three countries – yet unfortunately this can also mean two or three sets of guidelines to follow. All is fine if a transaction is completed successfully but what happens in areas of dispute or digital fraud for example.
Take for example, the situation with digital services – you can purchase a subscription to say a Polish TV channel like TVN player and find as soon as you travel outside the borders of Poland you’ll lose all access to it. In fact your subscription is completely useless unless you either return to Poland or invest in a Polski proxy to fool the channel about your location. It’s a ridiculous situation, digital purchases are happening in the 21st century but are subject to 20th century restrictions.
Much of this is due to copyright problems however without a concerted legislative effort then it’s likely to continue. The problem is that profit maximisation means that it is in the distributors best interest to license content on a geographical basis. Why sell access globally when you can make the consumer pay for access for every country they happen to want access from.
A few decades ago this wouldn’t have affected very many people, but now travel is cheap and available. Many very ordinary people live and work across many national borders, some even have homes and lives in different countries. Yet all the time these restrictive practices are being implemented in the digital market place. It’s pretty much everywhere, take any country and you’ll find this same pattern of media problems. The popular channel in Italy, Rai Player can’t be viewed outside Italy, again unless you circumvent the restrictions like this video suggests – VPN Italy. It makes buying anything digitally a huge risk, especially things like film and movie subscriptions for people who cross national borders.
It is hoped that the European Union can try and create a fairer digital marketplace although Brexit looks likely to have caused problems here. THe UK economy is probably the most advanced digital market place in Europe and without it’s cooperation any solution is likely to be fairly piecemeal.