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Online Sales Must Meet EU Rules

The European Union’s competition watchdog has warned consumer-product makers and digital content owners that they could face investigations into restrictions on online sales channels.

The European Commission said that roughly 40 percent of online retailers have reported contractual restrictions or recommendations from manufacturers on the prices they can offer consumers, while some 18 percent had manufacturer restrictions on selling through online marketplaces such as eBay.

The EC has detailed a burgeoning practice of restrictive contracts on the distribution of movies, TV shows and music, stating that they could violate EU competition rules by making it difficult for new entrants to get content licences or for new business models to emerge.

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