EU digi-chief clashes with robo-veep over geo-blocking

Commissioners out of step on copyright reform, digital single market

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Gaffe-prone Commissioner Günther H-dot Oettinger is at it again. In statements to the German press (he rarely talks to anyone else), Oetti directly mocked his boss Andrus Ansip’s desire to end geo-blocking.

Former Estonian prime minister Ansip – known as The Robot back home – has made eradication of geo-blocking his prime goal. Last week, in response to an El Reg question, he showed a real flash of emotion, saying “deep in my heart I really hate it”.

But in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Oettinger was dismissive, adding “I hate my 5 am alarm”.

“We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I will therefore examine ways to open up the film industry," said Oettinger, making it clear he sees geo-blocking as a way to preserve cultural diversity.

That Oetti is singing from the authors' and creators’ hymn sheet is hardly surprising, given that he has met with few other players.

Such groups take the view that only the biggest American outfits will survive if small film and TV producers are forced to give pan-European licences.

Oettinger says he backs the principle of net neutrality, but his comments put him squarely on a collision course with Ansip – something El Reg predicted back in November.

As a former Energy Commissioner, Oettinger is used to setting his own agenda.

However, the new European Commission structure is different to the one Oetti is used to. Ansip has ultimate say on legislative proposals for the vast concept of a Digital Single Market – within that Oettinger is only responsible for copyright reform. ®


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