Ireland: Geo-Blocking: A Step In The Right Direction

Last Updated: 16 August 2018
Article by Seán O'Reilly

Geo-blocking is a system which restricts a user's access to the internet based on their geographical location. This undermines the concept of the single market among Member States, one of the core values of the EU, as it limits the consumer's ability to benefit from the advantages of online shopping and cross-border sales within the EU.

As of 3 December 2018, Regulation 2018/302 of 28 February 2018 (the "Geo-blocking Regulation") will be applied in order to put an end to unjustified geo-blocking as part of the European Union's Digital Single Market Strategy. The Digital Single Market Strategy strives to create an online single market where;

"The free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured and where individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence."

In order for such objectives to be achieved, strategies such as geo-blocking must be regulated and curtailed as much as possible.

The Regulation

The new Geo-blocking Regulation addresses unjustified geo-blocking by setting out three cases where there is no justified reason to implement online restrictions or to discriminate based on location or nationality within the internal market.

  1. The sale of goods without physical delivery.
  2. This means that any consumer within the EU is entitled to purchase goods online from retailers based in another Member State and either collect it at the trader's premises or organise for delivery themselves to their own home.

  1. The sale of electronically supplied services.
  2. In this case, for example, a French consumer will be able to purchase online services from a German company without paying fees over and above those which would be payable by a German consumer. Such online services may include website hosting services.

  1. The sale of services provided in a specific physical location.
  2. This category captures amongst other things the online purchase of concert tickets or rental accommodation which will be located in another Member State to that of the consumer. In this case the consumer is entitled to equal treatment to those consumers located in the Member State where the service is provided.


The Regulation also bans the blocking of access to websites of other Member States and automatic re-routing. An example of automatic re-routing in practice would be a situation where a consumer who is located in Ireland wishes to visit the French website of an online retailer in order to purchase a product because it is sold at a cheaper price than on the Irish version of the website. Before the geo-blocking Regulation, the consumer in Ireland could be automatically rerouted to the Irish version of the website without having given consent. When the Geo-blocking regulation comes into force, when an Irish consumer visits the French website they will have to give consent before being re-routed to the Irish version of the website.

A non-discrimination rule in payments is also provided for whereby the means of payment must be the same regardless of the consumer's location, as long as the payments are made through electronic transactions, in a currency the trader accepts and necessary authentications are required and fulfilled.


It is important to note that following strong lobbying from the film and television industry, online audio-visual services will be exempt from the Geo-blocking Regulation. Therefore, online audio-visual and V.O.D (Video on Demand) service providers can continue to impose geographical restrictions on consumers within the EU who wish to view their online content. This will affect consumers who subscribe to services such as Netflix and Hulu. Users of these services will already be aware that the content available to view on these websites differs from country to country, even within the EU.

Reasons for this exemption may include the strict licensing agreements involved in distributing audio-visual content and the impact geo-blocking would have on the financial model for film and TV productions. In the film and TV industry a lot of value is placed on online distribution rights for films and TV shows and if the territorial exclusivity that a distributer in a particular Member State enjoys is undermined, this could result in the distributer attaching less commercial value to the project. This would also result in producers or possible investors having less of a financial incentive to invest in smaller productions.

There is a separate regulation, the Online Portability Regulation, which has been applicable since 1 April 2018, which allows users to access content when they travel within the EU in the same way they access it in their home Member State. This allows Irish Netflix users to continue to watch their favourite content while travelling, even if it is not normally available in the Member State in which they are travelling. While this Regulation does not totally remove geo-blocking from the audio-visual and V.O.D. industries it is a step in the right direction towards making these services more freely available across the EU.

The Regulation is subject to its first review by the Commission by 23 March 2020 and then every five years thereafter. The first review and those thereafter will evaluate the impact and scope of the Regulation on the Internal Market and may allow for adaptations in relation to those services which are included and exempt from the regulations at present. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions