Boost GDP by £260bn?
That's an awful lot of p0rn.
Seemingly frustrated at not being able to stream films in his Belgian hotel room, Business Secretary Vince Cable is calling for an "online single market" to address the weighty issue of making UK Netflix content accessible across the EU. Without unfair discrimination all online streaming services such as Netflix should be …
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"I'm not going to faff around with a VPN, just so I can get a bit of BBC. Give me "legal" access to it for a couple of quid and I'll be happy."
Yeah, that ain't gonna happen any time soon. It's a licensing problem, particularly for things like music. The BBC has carte blanche to use any music it wants for its programmes, with a compulsory licence on artists. Move outside broadcast signals in the UK and they have no such rights. It's why there is a Top Gear UK, not available to buy, and a Top Gear everywhere else, for example: they have no rights to the music they use. Clearly the BBC would love to sell Top Gear on DVD, but the licensing restrictions mean they cannot.
As an expat who would like the iPlayer, I feel it worth pointing out that my local cable TV provider carries pretty much the full set of BBC, ITV and Channel 4 TV channels, as broadcast in Blighty. If I can pay a modest monthly subscription fee to get the TV channels to my home on cable, how come I can't do the same thing to get them off the iPlayer?
"Isn't that just the sort of handicap that a common market would try to cure?"
Yes in theory. What would have to happen though is that the BBC couldn't possibly be given worldwide rights to do whatever it wanted though, so the BBC would in fact lose its forced licence and have to buy all its rights the same as everyone else. That might be considered good or not, depending on where you stand, but either BBC programmes would be worse or the licence fee would go up.
The main - almost exclusive drive to piracy is not people wanting stuff for free. It's people wanting stuff that is being artificially siloed away from them.
I'd pay £10, £15 a month if it was to a single gateway, and I could watch the content I knew was available.
Currently it's TV licence, £70/months to Virgin (and that's being reviewed), plus Amazon instants, plus netflix, etc etc.
I know somebody who pays for a full sky subscription, but prefers to download because there are no adverts and there's no waiting for foreign releases ( admittedly improved recently with some programmes simulcasting ). The UX for the-media-centre-formally-know-as-XBMC is so much better than Sky for the box-set type use-case too.
They tried Netflix, would be happy to pay for it too, but it doesn't have enough content.
Almost all of what I download I could have accessed for "free" as a combination of my various packages. Except I prefer no adverts, and (looking at you iPlayer) I prefer it to watch when *I* want to (no "try again later) and also I prefer to watch it all the way through in one go. Not have it stall, buffer, and then tell me (you guessed it !) to "try again later".
Is it a Virgin issue ? A BBC one ? Who knows ? certainly not - wait for it - Virgin and the BBC.
So unless I explicitly set my TiVo to record it (because I don't trust iPlayer - go figure), it's hello NZBs here I come. On my Virgin broadband. Which rocks - seriously !
"So unless I explicitly set my TiVo to record it (because I don't trust iPlayer - go figure), it's hello NZBs here I come. On my Virgin broadband. Which rocks - seriously !"
I do find it slightly odd that watching a stream from iPlayer in real time can buffer, stutter and even stop completely and yet I can use Get_iplayer to "stream" it straight to a file on the hard disk way, way faster with no pauses in the download. And yes, VM BB rocks!
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The EU has been arguing for this for a while now - and as an ex-pat, I would love to be able to get original soundtrack movies on Amazon Prime, for example - yet the UK has been against further integration and discussing pulling out of the EU... Maybe the UK politicians should make up their minds.
I'm tired of UK netflix having so much less than USA. Surely streaming should give everyone the same stuff.
You know that. I know that. The entire general public knows that. The studios, for some reason, don't.
Give everyone in the world access to the same content for a reasonable fee and piracy will pretty much disappear.
For example - my wife and I have long enjoyed The Amazing Race (you may keep your opinions on that to yourself). But there is NO way to watch it legally in the UK. No channel carries it and their online service won't allow anyone from outside the US to watch it. The ONLY option I have is to download it. I am happy to pay. I am willing to pay. But nobody will take my money.
In the meantime the Netflix problem is solved with Hola, or with Unblock-US which works on any device.
"I'm tired of UK netflix having so much less than USA....." Certain services are tied to location licenses, some will not work if the software detects that you are not where your license says you are entitled to be. But, if you are willing to pay for an US Netflix subscription, it then becomes a matter of fooling your system into thinking it is in the US. Now, I'm not encouraging any illegal/piracy activity (CYA statement), but a friend bought a Roku in the States last year and was annoyed in didn't work in the UK as well as it did in the US. He found he could fool the Roku with a paid-for DNS service called Unlocator (http://vpnfreedom.com/roku/how-to-use-the-roku-box-outside-the-us/), and he told me he now enjoys full US Netflix streaming wherever he can get the bandwidth. He makes sure he doesn't use the service for anything other than streaming (no work material, email or other coms).
So... which clause, precisely, of which copyright act in which country, gives the rights-holder the right to restrict where their content can be accessed?
I can tell you the answer to that, at least as it applies in US, British, EU and Canadian law: there is no such right. It's been basically engineered into the law by DRM.
Copyright gives you the right to limit copying, distribution, performance and display of, and derivation from, your work. Nothing was ever intended to give you the right to say "this book can only be read if you're in Australia", or "this music can only be listened to on Sony headphones". Those are extensions to copyright, which take away rights from consumers, and we shouldn't stand for it.
my view fwiw: if you pay a monthly fee for access to content, you get access to that content in that month. If it's sold as online access to content, it needs to be online access to content - if you have Internet access, you get the content, or you get the money back for the period when you couldn't access it for any non-technical reason - got to allow for ISP screw-ups or the occasional "JCB vs fibre" contest, etc.
It's eminently practical and easily achieved using existing laws.
Try telling the Germans that you can only use French cars in France and see how far you get with the Eu commision.
If you want to use the single market to pay corporation tax in Ireland, VAT in Luxemburg and not have to apply for a business visa to visit each customer then you also don't get to discriminate by country
As an ex-pat living in Germany, I can't buy all the available UK music online from Google Play Music and iTunes. If I were to buy it from iTunes UK in Germany, it would be illegal. Likewise music from German bands I like can't be bought by friends in the UK, unless they went to the German store.
Amazon blocks you trying to buy MP3s in the UK store for music I can't even get here. I have an Amazon Prime subscription enabling me to watch lots of movies and series in German. A handful of "OV" (original version) films are available in English. Glad I learned German. The last series of "Not Going Out"? No chance.
Changes to the legislation is, in my opinion, way overdue. I should be able to make use of my Amazon Prime subscription when I'm elsewhere in the EU on holiday, but I can't legally do this. Well, I can download them to my Kindle Fire and turn off the Internet connection, but that's not the point. It needs planning in advance.
To be fair, the issue is related to TV rights being sold to local broadcasters. Comedy Central UK has paid for the rights to exclusively broadcast Friends in the UK, this is why it's not available on Netflix in the UK. It's a difficult issue to resolve without tearing down the basis of all TV broadcasting rights sales.
"Comedy Central UK has paid for the rights to exclusively broadcast Friends in the UK, this is why it's not available on Netflix in the UK."
I wonder how the contract is actually worded? Netflix not being a broadcaster and all that. No doubt the lawyers have it all sewn up. Yet you can still buy or rent the Friends DVDs, which is not all that different to storing your copy on a Netflix server to watch when and where you want to. Oh, the fun we could have in a court! ;-)
There's also the issue of 'FTA' v. 'FTV' that impacts satellite broadcasters. If I'm a UK channel and I want to broadcast the latest blockbuster I don't want to have to pay for the rights to broadcast it EU-wide. Unfortunately if my channel is being broadcast from Eutelsat 28A that's exactly what I'm going to be doing. An unencrypted channel is 'FTA' (Free To Air) and from that satellite anyone of over 300 million people can watch my output. The only workaround if I'm using this satellite would be to encrypt the channel and require viewers to have an appropriate decoding card. If I don't charge more than a handling fee for the card it becomes 'FTV' (Free to View). I can satisfy the rights holders by ensuring that the cards can only be sent to UK addresses.
The better solution would be to broadcast from a transponder that, nominally at least, only covered the UK and Ireland. Unfortunately until recently the only satellite that could do this (Astra 2A) was pretty much full. The refusal to support encryption is why Freesat doesn't carry all the free channels that Sky does. It was also the cause of the delay in getting 5 HD to air. In the end they reached an agreement with someone else (the BBC I think) to sublet space on Astra 2A.
Hopefully now that there's a new bird up there some channels might migrate over but it depends how long their current contracts run although (for better or for worse) it seems like 5 are not interested in going FTA at the moment. They may have an arrangement with Sky which is more lucrative.
One issue around regional rights that might be relevant here is translation. Anything that has to be translated needs to either wait for all translations to be complete or else chances are it'll have been seen by everyone before the translation is complete which lowers the value/revenue from translation.
"The better solution would be to broadcast from a transponder that, nominally at least, only covered the UK and Ireland"
Yes, and it'd be even better if not for the fact that the UK and Ireland are not the same country. This leads to the situation where Irish TV-licence payers are unable to watch their own channels on Astra without paying Sky a subscription.
The alternative, of Free-To-Air broadcast on Astra 2A, would have the effect of increasing the Irish broadcasters' reach by a factor of 16 (from 4 million to around 64 million viewers). Sounds good? Well, no, not for a public broadcaster it isn't - the cost of live events and other bought-in programming would now also go up to account for the larger addressable viewership. It wouldn't matter that 90% of that market have no interest in watching: in TV, you pay for how many people can view something, not how many actually do.
(Yes, there is a free satellite system in Ireland, but it uses Ka-band, so is incompatible with the Astra Ku-band receivers that most people own, and is only intended as infill for areas that cannot receive DVB-T signals.)
But broadcasting is one part of the media market where it's harder to make a clear-cut case for a single, flat market; there are valid societal reasons to not force broadcasters in small countries to play at the same scale as their larger neighbours.
However, when it comes to direct sale of digital media to customers (Amazon, iTunes, Qobuz, etc) it shouldn't be so difficult to fathom: the EU Single Market rules mean that a publisher cannot stop me buying a book from Germany/Hungary/Slovenia/wherever. But if I try to purchase an eBook of the same text, from the same EU seller, I can't. Because now, suddenly, it's not a good anymore, and they don't have a right to sell me it. ?? But... if there's something that's only available on eBook, that they cannot sell me, I can ask them to print it out, and then ship me the hard copy, and now suddenly they're allowed to do it again. That is madness.
Or how about tying content to the account region, rather than the access region, and give people at least a reasonable amount of grace for accessing outside of their home region. (e.g. 30 days since last access from home region)?
More importantly, it should be enshrined in consumer law that if we can't access the services that we are paying for through an arbitrary restriction, then the service provider MUST give a way of "pausing" that subscription, rather than happily taking our money and not allowing us to use it.
"Or how about tying content to the account region, rather than the access region, and give people at least a reasonable amount of grace for accessing outside of their home region. (e.g. 30 days since last access from home region)?"
Noooooo! Then I wouldn't be able to VPN into Netflix US, which I clearly don't as it's against the T&Cs.
This is (as mentioned above) all about media rights and how they are sold.
I spent some time working (in IT) for a TV rights company and I was a little shocked at how backward the issue of rights is....for instance hard media (such as DVD/Blu Ray) are sold separately to broadcast, but most rights in the early online days were sold with such wolly, open ended broad spectrum rights on long term deals and this has continued to be the case as it is the "status quo" so to speak....and almost all of these included localised deals for "online" :(
So rights for one particular program may be sold to a UK TV company with DVD, rebroadcast and in HD, but not SD...and to a French broadcast company with delayed cast, Blu Ray but not HD or DVD. It is frankly a total mess and there is a whole distribution market/workforce built up around this model that would resist any change for job preservation reasons.
Surely at some point the industry needs to accept that "online" is "online" and does not specify any legal or geographical domain. Global releases of media for film, TV, music and already to some point these days video games needs to happen as the glass walls of licensing are being smashed by pirating content that would otherwise be purchased legally.
had a gift card I could use for ebooks (not Amazon) and went to the site and had a look at Xmas deals Etc. picked 8 titles used a discount code on 2 of them then went to pay. Turns out I was in the US site and on logging into account it flipped over to Canadian site, suddenly price was $20 more and that was for 6 books 2 of them having disappeared. Total mess.
Fair point Vince, but it begs the question: what have all those well paid political types in the EU been doing for the last 40-odd years since they've had a democratic mandate to create a common market? Maybe we need to apply market forces to the people who implement these changes, to empower someone who will actually get on with the job?
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