TPP to criminalise ordinary viewers

Written By: - Date published: 2:44 pm, March 10th, 2016 - 53 comments
Categories: capitalism, Globalisation, Media - Tags: , , , ,

A lot of people out there couldn’t give a stuff about the TPP because they don’t see it affecting them. This might change their minds:

Watching US Netflix looks set to become an offence

Getting around blocks on overseas online television services such as the United States version of Netflix looks set to become an offence.

Commerce Minister Paul Goldsmith said the Government needed to change intellectual property laws to fulfill the country’s obligations under the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

A discussion paper released by Goldsmith proposed that people would continue to be allowed to circumvent “geo-blocks” on physical items, for example regional blocks on DVDs. But the discussion paper proposes no similar exemption for breaking regional locks on digital services, such as online television services.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment is inviting submissions on the proposals by March 30.

More to come

Update: Note that since the version quoted above, the piece has been updated to play down the threat.

53 comments on “TPP to criminalise ordinary viewers ”

  1. adam 1

    And back comes pirating.

    Many better ways to do it now.

    When the services offered are sub par, what do these people expect?

    Oh wait kiwis = we do as we are told.

  2. framu 2

    “But the discussion paper proposes no similar exemption for breaking regional locks on digital services, such as online television services.”

    so how do they tell? – would they make the use of VPNs illegal? or use a similar method as the piracy three strikes approach?

    i know we dont really know the answer just yet – more verbally scratching my head here

    all this will do is encourage more piracy and the use of free tv streaming sites

    • Liberal Realist 2.1

      “all this will do is encourage more piracy and the use of free tv streaming sites”

      Agreed. It’s worth noting that free tv streaming is not illegal at present. If they make that illegal how the hell will they enforce it? Presumably they’ll force ISPs to block such sites – we all know how effect that has been to prevent peer to peer piracy.

      As for outlawing VPNs, good luck with that!

      The best way to tackle piracy is to make global content available at a fair price to all, however that approach doesn’t fit with content owners out-date business model.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        The best way to tackle piracy is to make global content available at a fair price to all, however that approach doesn’t fit with content owners out-date business model.

        QFT

        • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 2.1.1.1

          This show what sort of BS modern free trade agreements have become. Old fashioned free trade agreements were about consumers being able to get the lowest priced goods in all the countries within the agreement. That the TPPA allows ‘regional’ pricing just shows how meaningless words like ‘free trade’ have become.

  3. Malconz 3

    Ah well, that will be the end of my Netflix sub. Screw them all.

  4. aerobubble 4

    Two degrees of warming by 2030. TPP is irrelevant. Warming buckets cool faster, strong cooling storms produce faster cooling of northern continents. Warming won’t just raise our seashore but will create massive global displacement, from hotter summers and colder winters send more tv viewers are way, sitting new homes on new sofas. Netflix oh poor you, the whole notion of keeping up with tv shows shown in the US was said to be about people talking about the shows being in sync, lol, no its all about a shift to control content, limit access and so raise fees on the minority who have all that spare time for tv watching, overpaid tv and radio presenters. Most people are in their cars commuting, or something, tv is just a big con, its supposed to be the era of tv and there is sd all on freeview because of this nonsense design to hide price rises on tv shows. If we all turned off broadband tv and just sat to wait for the shows then we’d get them for free, duh. Its the 1% driving the prices up and then geting windfall profits.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      Instead of we all being picked off one by one by tv fees why dont we pharmac it, or better fund a public broadcaster to pick the best and just freeview them. We’d all get better tv if those putting thrir hands in their wallets gave the money to a free broadcaster and so reuce the outflow of money from nz, good for the economy, duh.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Could you link to your statement on 2 degrees of warming by 2030?

      I personally think that climate change this century is going to be far more severe than punters suspect but 2 degrees by 2030 would be catastrophic

      • aerobubble 4.2.1

        yes, given chinas expansion, the trend of increasing warmer years, last 14 of 15? is a sure bet the next fifteen will.. but im no expert

      • Pasupial 4.2.2

        CV
        I haven’t read through the linked original study yet (and this is way off topic), but this Guardian piece mentions that scenario:

        University of Queensland and Griffith University researchers have developed a “global energy tracker” which predicts average world temperatures could climb 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by 2020.

        That forecast, based on new modelling using long-term average projections on economic growth, population growth and energy use per person, points to a 2C rise by 2030.

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/dangerous-global-warming-will-happen-sooner-than-thought-study

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1

          Thanks Pasupial.

          I think it will take a decade longer than their estimate of 2030 because they have used a projected high level of economic growth from the ‘golden era’ of the last 60 years.

          Of course anyone in the real economy that is not supported by a financial bubble will have realised that the stagnant last 7-8 years where per capita economic growth struggles to reach even 1% might very well be the new normal.

          Still 2040 for 2 deg C rise means we’re all screwed as that puts us on track for a 4 deg C rise by about 2060.

          • Stuart Munro 4.2.2.1.1

            It likely won’t be linear – ice melt suppresses temperature rises in oceans – once most of the ice goes the rise will be steeper.

            • aerobubble 4.2.2.1.1.1

              And all that trapped carbon in ice melt and release from once ice cover tundra warming… …oh but will thatbe balanced by forest growth in Antarctica

      • JonL 4.2.3

        “I personally think that climate change this century is going to be far more severe than punters suspect but 2 degrees by 2030 would be catastrophic”

        It will be. Few signs of cutting back, we’re showing about 5-7 yrs behind emissions in the temp record.the heat is pouring into the oceans – when that sink starts to fill right up, it’s all on…..I reckon 2C by 2030 will be about right, if not conservative.

        • aerobubble 4.2.3.1

          Its like talking to a child. You are forcing the climate to heat… ..child, “not me daddy”.

  5. Colonial Viper 5

    Notice how the corporations love globalisation – except when it isn’t on their terms.

    And Labour – you guys fucked up by being soft on the TPP. Stringent opposition would have won a shit tonne of votes as more of this bad news leaked out over time.

    But you were too busy cosying up to the corporate establishment to prove your credentials as a safe pair of hands.

  6. saveNZ 6

    Warners Bros takes legal action against Maori TV

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11603350

    Now that our government has spent 5m at least on prosecuting Dotcom on behalf of Warners et el so they don’t have to bother themselves with their own cash or lawyers by making it a criminal change instead of civil dispute, changed our employment law for them for lord or the Rings so people have less rights under contract and given them extra tax breaks, they now take exception to Maori TV….

    Roll on TPPA – lets give these guys MORE POWER than they already have to micro manage our information and use our police and court services… sarc.

    • Chooky 6.1

      pretty pathetic!…really imo it will give the rest of the world a creative boost and may even encourage a boycott of anything to do with Warner Bros and Hollywood….it may even make USA’s best and brightest creative writers move away

      …also ironic considering that much of the profits of the USA film industry is derivative on appropriating the creativity of others around the world and not necessarily making a good job of it eg Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ ( the books are way better than the films)

      … descriptor terms that spring to mind are …schmaltzy, cartoonising, vulgar overuse of visual effects, lack of subtlety

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        Not to mention dwarf jokes, major plot changes, and above all crumbling masonry. The dwarves build fortresses on which armies break like water but in Moria, their capital, building standards weren’t enforced 🙁

  7. b waghorn 7

    So a company wants to stop people stealing their stuff??
    I personally have no problem with that.

    • Pasupial 7.1

      b waghorn
      No; a trade agreement that isn’t even in force yet, is used by our government to legally restrict the content available to NZ viewers. This will have the effect of encouraging pirating of viewing content (arguably theft), rather than preventing it. The people who view content via overseas sites still pay subscription fees at this time.

      • b waghorn 7.1.1

        Please bare with me I’m not being a smart Arse!.
        Netflix has blocks in place to stop nz viewers getting access to stuff they are not paying to watch, therefore they must have the right to stop people circumventing those blocks.
        Saying that making it illegal will cause more people to nick stuff shouldn’t be a case for not doing it surely ?

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          therefore they must have the right to stop people circumventing those blocks.

          What the hell kind of logic is that.

          Just because a farmer puts a gate across a road doesn’t mean he’s allowed to, or that he’s allowed to stop public access to the road.

          Corporations are using the TPP to defend their profits and maximise the money they can pull out of every consumer market.

          The Agreement is doing exactly what it is designed to do.

          Labour know full well that the TPP will increase profit extraction out of NZ by foreign transnational corporations, whether they are the banks or Hollywood.

          • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.1

            +1

          • joe90 7.1.1.1.2

            Just because a farmer puts a gate across a road doesn’t mean he’s allowed to, or that he’s allowed to stop public access to the road

            He’s not allowed to restrict access to those who have the right but he most certainly is allowed to negotiate different rates for different buyers of the stock he produces.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.2.1

              Can that farmer also charge tourists travelling along the road for taking photographs of his alpacas?

            • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.1.2.2

              Not really. If he’s selling an item for $10 in one place and then turns around and tries to sell it for $100 dollars in another place then those in the latter place are going to buy from the former place. Simple free-market actions really.

              The problem is that the TPPA is making those simple free-market actions illegal. In other words, it’s operating against free-trade.

        • No.

          Netflix has blocks in place to stop people who ARE paying from accessing stuff licensed to a different country than the one they reside in. (because practice used to be to license things country by country, and for some reason nobody is negotiating international licensing for streaming services yet) Critically, they are paying the US fees, therefore there can be no arguement that any of the US content is not included in their payment or not licensed to them.

          There is absolutely no stealing involved. Netflix gets paid to deliver the content, and the license-holder gets their cut from the licensing deal. Technically, it may violate the terms of their agreement if there is to date no license to show said content outside of the US- but here is the important part- the content is still bought and paid for.

          What Pasupial is saying is that this sort of geoblocking-due-to-licensing difficulties problem is what we call a “service problem.” In that consumers are tired of licensing being done on a per-nation basis, so are voting with their feet by circumventing geoblocks, or if they can’t do that, simply pirating the content.

          If consumers aren’t able to legally access the content they want, they will either circumvent geoblocking (which they are now proposing to make illegal, despite the equivalent for disc-based content being explicitly legal) or outright pirate the content, and if both those two are illegal, it becomes a much higher incentive to pirate the content, because if you know what you’re doing, piracy is easy for the consumer, and generally has a high availability of content.

          Basically, National thinks it’s allowing content owners greater control over how their content is used by making it a crime to circumvent geoblocking. What they’re actually doing is encouraging people to pirate things instead of paying for the content, because if both actions are illegal, the comparative moral cost of piracy lowers, and then it’s an equation between “free, relatively convenient content” and “expensive, relatively convenient content once I set up a way to bill from an overseas credit card and fake billing address.”

          Regardless of whether content-owners have the right to set up restrictions like this, it’s bad business, and we shouldn’t be helping them encourage piracy by making new offenses for them to enforce their failed business model. We should be encouraging them to modernise their licensing deals to be international.

          • b waghorn 7.1.1.2.1

            Thakyou that helps

            • Matthew Whitehead 7.1.1.2.1.1

              No problem, I figured you were probably confusing piracy with circumventing geoblocks. Geoblocks are things like when YouTube says “this content is not available where you live.” They have no relation to the business model of the service using them, and are purely in place because of stupid, region-specific licenses and media company BS.

              • b waghorn

                If only my teachers had had your patience back in the day ,hell I might of got through collage.

                • I like debating with right-wingers. (at least, when it stays intellectual rather than emotive) You kinda have to have some patience to get through an exercise that masochistic. 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      People aren’t stealing their stuff. They’re getting it legally and paying for it.

      It’s more that the company is looking to boost profits by limiting access and decreasing competition.

      • Bob 7.2.1

        “They’re getting it legally and paying for it”
        If they were getting it legally there would be no issue. They are getting access to content that only has rights paid for US viewing, by circumventing this people are actually hurting the artists who act in/write/produce/direct/create the shows.

        What you are advocating is akin to one person paying for Sky TV, then letting everyone else in the world to pay a nominal fee extra each for multi-room. You are still paying for the service, but well below the required rates to cover the cost of the shows on the service. Either the quality/quantity or rights paid to artists has to drop to cover for this illegal practice.

        Of course you would be up in arms if, lets say Warner Bro’s tried to pay artists less because of their drop in income, wouldn’t you? You can’t have it both ways.

        • Actually, at the moment there is nothing illegal about paying for an overseas service and circumventing geoblocking. You might be misrepresenting yourself, but you are still paying the same amount as anyone else for the service. Now, the distributor knowingly allowing you to use that content against their license is illegal, but you haven’t notified them that you would cause a problem for their license. Arguably it’s immoral because you’re violating the license-holder’s rights, but that’s if you believe it’s actually moral to distinguish licensing by country as opposed to, say, by language. (Distinguishing by country makes sense for physical products that need to be shipped to stores. It makes little sense for digital products where small changes need to be made for local regulations and billing, but not in the actual content or the service)

          This is NOT akin to getting a second house on your sky account and calling them “another room” so that you can get sky for $10 a month. This is more like Sky making a decision that they don’t want to operate outside of Auckland, and you getting them to connect up a service to a house inside of Auckland using someone else’s address (and possibly name, but with their explicit consent), and arranging to extend their cables to wherever you live yourself, and paying the full fee to Sky yourself for the service. Nobody is cheating anybody out of fees that make their business work. The only thing you’ve technically done “wrong” is give them incorrect membership information, but then again, you’ve only had to do that because they’ve made a business decision that discriminates against you as their potential customer.

      • Bob 7.2.2

        Also, “It’s more that the company is looking to boost profits by limiting access and decreasing competition”
        This is exactly the opposite of what is happening! Local companies such as Lightbox and Neon have been able to secure the rights to content in New Zealand where this content may be licensed to Netflix in the US. By circumventing geo-blocks, people are effectively helping to create a global monopoly by cutting out the NZ competition.

  8. Neil 8

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Warner Bro’s convinced their puppet John pony tail puller Key to get rid of free to air TV.

    • tc 8.1

      A state broadcaster would do just fine thanks.

    • Richard McGrath 8.2

      User-pays TV might be a good thing – the ins of thousands of Sky TV customers seem to think so.

      • Lucy 8.2.1

        The version we have is really bad but free to air has been gutted so much that something is better than nothing

      • David H 8.2.2

        Sky?? Really they charge you a fortune for what??? more AD filled rubbish. Exactly like free to air. So why would I want to pay $50 per mth for more AD riddled rubbish?

      • The future is with streaming services like Lightbox or Netflix, where you can watch what you want on-demand. Sky will either expand into that area or die soon enough.

        Arguably there’s room for differentiation around streaming vs downloading, (streaming is better for mobile access, downloading gives you more control over the content and the ability to access it if your connection is down) but that’s about it. In the future TVs are going to come with ethernet cables and hard drives, and they’ll act as streaming devices, maybe with some download capacity. Private network TV is likely to go away within a matter of decades.

  9. Richard McGrath 9

    I don’t think it’s so much circumventing the blocks on U.S. Netflix that’s the issue, but breaching copyright and evading paying royalties where they are due. If TPP helps those who have produced TV shows and deserve to be paid for it, then I’m OK with that.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      I don’t think it’s so much circumventing the blocks on U.S. Netflix that’s the issue

      That’s exactly what the issue is.

      If TPP helps those who have produced TV shows and deserve to be paid for it, then I’m OK with that.

      It doesn’t. In fact, it pretty much ensures that they’re lose income from their work because less people will be buying it.

    • When you circumvent geoblocking, you are still paying Netflix, who will either pay the license-holder royalties, or have already paid them a lump sum. Money is still changing hands.

      Now, if circumventing geoblocking is made illegal, it will encourage piracy. Why?

      Because of the economics of consumer morality and convenience. Imagine there are three costs to buying something- $C, (the money cost) $I, (the inconvenience cost) and $M. (the moral cost)

      If the content is available legally through a NZ-based streaming service, the cost works out to $C = (your subscription fee), $I = 1, (a nominal amount, setting up an account and paying the bills regularly) $M = 0. (negligible, unless you have a moral problem with any of the companies involved) For people with disposable income, they will almost always use the streaming service if it is reasonably priced, has a good array of content they want, and is convenient to use.

      If the content is only available through a US-based service, they will often use that service instead. Both tho license-holder and the distributer (netflix in this example) get paid, although the terms of their license are unknowingly breached, as they’re not supposed to be showing outside of the US. Because it’s currently not illegal for a customer to do this, this is mainly an inconvenience cost, setting up means to spoof the distributor, in top of paying them and signing up for the service, raising the $I cost. Due to exchange rates, $C is a bit higher, most likely. $M is either a small cost, or nothing, depending on whether you feel bad for breaking Netflix’s license with the license-holder.

      If circumventing geoblocks is made illegal, the $M and $I prices for US-based streaming services will rise for New Zealanders. This is a very bad thing. Why?

      Because there’s a third option, piracy. It has no $C cost at all, (so people who don’t have disposable income will pirate things they couldn’t have afforded anyway) and due to torrenting websites, $I is pretty low once you find a website that archives torrents. $M is probably quite high for most consumers, as you know nobody is getting paid for making or distributing the content, but here’s the thing- if you’re facing a high $M price for circumventing geoblocks anyway, and the content isn’t available in NZ, then you might not care about the moral cost. You might just pirate it.

      This law will upset the moral costs of paying for content, and drive more people to piracy. It’s actually straight-up bad for licence-holders, they just don’t realise it. And it’s bad for people who enjoy good content, which sadly doesn’t always get licensed to be consumed in NZ, and when it does get licensed, is often significantly delayed so that we get the content months or years later. That sort of thing simply doesn’t fly in the modern world, as for many consumers, a delay is a $I cost.

      Who is it good for that content gets licensed per-nation? Mostly lawyers, as the deals will need to be customised for each nation. Basically everyone else wins if the license-holder and distributor can agree to license things internationally instead- then it will pop up in the NZ version of Netflix without a problem.

  10. Observer (Tokoroa) 10

    Hi

    Given that American films are mostly about guns and unremitting violence, what would happen if the NZ Government were to ban the purchase and screening of such vile stuff?

    Would our Government be indicted by the American Producers?

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