Streaming, deliveries, cigarettes and more Changes coming in March

Bonn · Cigarette prices will go up and EU streaming will see changes too. From March 1 of 2018, new laws and regulations will affect consumers in Germany. Here’s a look at what is changing.

On Thursday, some new regulations and laws will enter into force in Germany. There will also be changes for the consumer. Here is an overview of what you can expect:

Cheaper COD charges

Until now, when a customer took in a package per COD (charge on delivery), there were two fees to be paid. One fee went to use the COD service and another to the parcel delivery service itself. As of March 2018, there will be only a single fee to be paid.

The parcel delivery service of DHL takes a delivery charge of 4.90 euros and a transfer fee of 2.00 euros. From March, there will only be a single fee for the COD service of DHL. It will cost a consumer 3.70 euros.

Smokers have to dig deeper in their pockets

Market leader Philip Morris announced that the price of a pack of cigarettes will increase. The price for a box of Marlboro is expected to increase from 6.50 euros to 7.00 euros from 1 March. However, there will be 22 instead of 21 cigarettes in a box.

But not only Marlboros will become more expensive. The brands L & M, Chesterfield and F6 will increase their prices. A box of 20 L & M cigarettes will cost 10 cents more. That means: The previous price of 6.90 euros rises to 7.00 euros.

Use of streaming services possible EU-wide

Finally, you can listen to unlimited music and watch movies in other EU countries. So-called geo-blocking has prevented streaming outside of Germany so far. As of 20 March 2018, it will - to the delight of all streaming services and users of these services - be eliminated within the EU. Sky Go, Spotify, Amazon Prime and Netflix are exempted from the "This content is not available in your country" ads as of March, at least within the EU Member States. However, this is only applicable for limited stays abroad.

Blue license for scooters and mopeds

The black license which shows proof of vehicle liability insurance will no longer be valid as of March 1. Every year, the color changes and this year, owners of scooters and mopeds and some e-bikes will need the blue license, which is available from the insurer.

ECall - a must for all new vehicles

The new eCall system must be part of every newly built car after the month of March. It is an electronic emergency call system. In the event of an accident, the location is automatically forwarded to the nearest rescue coordination center. A GPS receiver and a mobile radio unit help rescue workers get to the scene quickly in case of an emergency. ECall is triggered upon a hard impact of the vehicle, but can also be operated manually via a button.

Copyright changes for authors in science and research

The changes in copyright are intended to simplify the use of protected works for education and research. As well, in these times of digitization, the security of universities and scientists should be strengthened.

From March 1, 2018, teachers will be able to put 15 percent instead of 12 percent of a volume or work online if they are using it as instruction material. This applies even if the work is protected by copyright. Putting a complete work online is permitted in special cases. As of March, scientists are legally allowed to analyze large amounts of text relevant to their research, using a specific data evaluation system.

(Orig. text: Isabelle Assenmacher / Translation: ck)

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