E.C. wants more European works from Netflix

May 20, 2016, 3:02 PM EDT
breathless still shots of smoking jean seberg : san francisco (2012). (Source: torbakhopper/flickr)
(Source: torbakhopper/flickr)

The onslaught of American technology in Europe has been rattling European regulators and governments for years now. On a security and privacy front, their fears were amplified following the Snowden leaks. But on a cultural front, regulators are now striving to keep the continent’s artistic industries from falling between the cracks as U.S.-based tech behemoths blanket the globe with their services.

Two of the largest companies — Netflix and Amazon — could be forced to change their content offerings in Europe to include more European-made film and TV. Reuters reports that the European Commission is set to “overhaul” the European Union’s broadcasting rules with proposals next week that aim to establish E.U.-wide quotas for European films and TV. On-demand services such as Netflix will have to ensure that 20% of their catalogs are made up of European film or TV, and that those services will have to “ensure their prominence.” 

These new potential requirements are especially timely given Netflix’s recent global expansion. After the company announced its move into several international markets in January, it faced opposition in countries like Indonesia over permits and the nature of some content available through the service. 

While the E.C. isn’t about to censor Netflix, its pending proposal does hint at a possible clash between the popular streaming service and the regulatory body. Netflix may not have a problem with hosting more European works, but it could take issue with having its content controlled in such a way. And Netflix is just one of many American online streaming services that  would be affected by such a ruling.

But controlling content from U.S.-based tech companies is something the E.C. is doing more of these days. Facebook and Google continue to wrestle with various European regulators and governments regarding content. Indeed this week Google appealed the highly controversial ruling in France that the company scrub results deemed removable under the “right to be forgotten” act from not just google.fr, but from all global Google search results. 

As the relationship between American tech giants and European regulators grows increasingly rocky, expect to see more face-offs.

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