EU Digital Single Market Strategy and copyright-protected works: between geo-blocking and competition law tools

In 2015, the European Commission launched the Digital Single Market Strategy in the attempt to expand the benefits of the internal market in the digital world, by removing barriers to the provision of digital content across borders. From this perspective, the so-called geo-blocking, namely the restricted access to contents based upon the user’s geographical location, was considered as something capable of hindering the creation of a single market: this is the reason why this practice was banned by Regulation 2018/302, even if copyright-protected works (such as audiovisual ones) were excluded from the scope of this act. This contribution focuses on the reasons for this exclusion, also considering the effects in terms of consumers’ welfare, and tackles the interplay between the geo-blocking Regulation and competition law instruments, in order more specifically to see whether (and at what cost) they can be used to promote the cross-border provision of audio-visual services.