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Netflix Geoblocking Loosened Under New EU Law (thestack.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: "The European Parliament is now finalizing legislation which will allow EU residents to access their paid subscriptions for online media -- such as video streaming, games and music -- while visiting other EU countries," reports The Stack. Under the new rules, companies will not be able to arbitrarily block subscribers from accessing the content catalog of their home countries while visiting other parts of the European Union, with country of origin to be established by various possible methods besides IP address, including payment details, public tax information and 'checks on electronic identification'. The issue was brought to a head last year when Netflix began blocking the known IPs of VPN providers, often used by subscribers to access the catalogs of their home countries while travelling.
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Netflix Geoblocking Loosened Under New EU Law

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  • its funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12, 2017 @12:49PM (#53851231)

    its funny how some of these companies attack trump but then go around geolocking all their shit, they arent cool with globalism depending on how affects their money

    they are fine with the cheap worker from fuckistan lowering my salary but if i use their online store to buy some digital shit in the fuckistan currency because its better for me, then i get banned

    thats why facebook, microsoft, amazon... can talk all they want, it wont matter, once you redpill enough people reality shows its ugly head: they are scum, simple as that

    all globalism is is a way to make money for big companies, and everyone supporting it is human feces

    • Re:its funny (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @04:03PM (#53852151)

      its funny how some of these companies attack trump but then go around geolocking all their shit,

      It is not Netflix; however. It is entertainment companies who license content differently in different jurisdictions either to maximize their profits, or to distribute their profits across multiple vacade organizations in order to minimize tax liability.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can assure you Netflix only geoblocks because of their licensors. If they had their way they'd have no blocks at all.

    • by SirSlud ( 67381 )

      What's funny is watching some dumbass belly flop trying to make a coherent argument that makes a lick of sense.

    • by ZayJay ( 609601 )
      Gee, hate much? Your "Fuckistanis" are human just like you are pretending to be.
    • "they are fine with the cheap worker from fuckistan lowering my salary but if i use their online store to buy some digital shit in the fuckistan currency because its better for me, then i get banned"

      Sounds like the Free Market is saying your labour is worth less than "Fuckistani" labour.

      Why should society have to step in to artificially inflate your salary?

  • flip it around (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @12:50PM (#53851243)

    The issue was brought to a head last year when Netflix began blocking the known IPs of VPN providers, often used by subscribers to access the catalogs of their home countries while travelling.

    I guess that's one way to put it. I'd say most people use the VPNs to access content blocked in their home country, and it sounds like this order actually harms that since your country remains the same regardless of your physical location(or your VPNs physical location).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is not only for blocked Content. It is to stop snooping by the usual suspects including ISP's.

      The more variation you can put in your Internet Point of Presence (eg Location where your connection hits the non VPN Internet) the more random the less you can be identified.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      I'd say most people use the VPNs to access content blocked in their home country

      So netflix content is based on the location.

      and it sounds like this order actually harms that since your country remains the same regardless of your physical location(or your VPNs physical location).

      So netflix content is not based on the location but on the account?

      You'll need to make up your mind before you make the point. But I'll help you, the former is true. So when I access my netflix account right here, right now in the hotel I'm in not 30min drive from my home country, some of the content I get at home is inaccessible.

      • RTFA? It's not about geolocation. It's about account home location. Use context, which is what, second grade reading comprehension?
      • Netflix content is currently based on the location of the connection since that is what the content owners have forced them to do, now the EU is talking about implementing new laws that says that Netflix (among others) have to base it on the location of the account instead.
    • Netflix actively blocks VPN traffic now.

  • Why only in EU? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Like any other online service you should be able to access it wherever you choose to go online. This isn't some firewalled LAN it's the internet. These restrictions make absolutely no sense.

    • Geoblocking makes no sense to the person selling content. It's purely for middlemen who hope to sell for different prices in different parts of the world, because they have grown used to the fact that for physically distributed goods there are real costs that vary with selling in different places. That this no longer applies in the digital world has not sunk in yet.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        There's a lot more to it than that. You have to consider that each country will have different laws, different economic situations, etc. And of course the distributors want to abuse all of those differences to the maximum ability they can in order to retain control and/or increase profit.

        As a Canadian constantly being taunted by Netflix' library, I can tell you that I don't especially like geoblocking.. but to say that it doesn't apply in the digital world is a bit silly. There are many forces beyond sim

        • Either way you are still trying to access the service you paid for as a resident of that country. You should be able to do so from wherever, just as if you buy a DVD from your home country and brought your player you'd be able to play it wherever you could plug into a TV.

        • Also the content might be owned by different entities depending upon country. For example Pt1 of Friday the 13th (the original from 1980) is owned by Warner in Europe and by Paramount in the US (which is why we got the uncut version on DVD/BluRay in Europe).
  • ... the billing address? While there can certainly be legitimate reasons for getting a credit card that is tied to a foreign bank, that foreign bank will still have your real address. Obviously one can work around this if you get a credit card that is tied to another country and manage to deceive the bank into believing that your billing address is in the same country as they are despite your permanent shipping address (which is where they are going to physically send the card in the first place) not bei
    • I think you may be missed the point: this is about, say, a uk resident being able to access the uk Netflix whilst on holiday or business, say, in Germany. It is not about me living in Germany and being able to subscribe the uk Netflix. If it was then I would be able to access iPlayer!

      • by jonwil ( 467024 )

        Right now if you buy Netflix in the UK and visit Germany, you get German Netflix. If the geoblocking was based on billing address then you would get UK Netflix when you visit Germany.

  • by darkpixel2k ( 623900 ) <aaron@heyaaron.com> on Sunday February 12, 2017 @01:30PM (#53851409) Homepage
    The EU rules they are officially members of DVD Regions 1 through 5, but not 6.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @01:51PM (#53851501)
    As I said before, the streaming services like Netflix would like nothing more than to offer a single streaming catalog for the entire world. It would drastically simplify their operations. All these stories make it seem like they're the culprits, when they're not. They're forced to do this silly geo-blocking by the music and movie studios, who use it as a way to eek out a little more profit via a graduated rollout schedule - movie first shows up in theaters, then via pay per view, then for sale on blu-ray, then on subscription services, then syndicated on TV. Each earlier step gives them a little more revenue per viewer than the later steps.

    The "correct" solution to this is for these studios to get their butts in gear and work at synchronizing these rollouts throughout the entire world. But because they have a monopoly on their shows, there is no competition, so there is no pressure for them to work at synchronizing. So they've been lazy and have been relying on the crutch of geo-blocking to prevent certain countries from getting access to movies and shows which have been out for months in other countries. Since the problem stems from a government-granted monopoly (copyright), the correct solution is for government to step in and prohibit use of the geo-blocking crutch.
    • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @02:08PM (#53851603)
      While providing one unified list of titles for all customers worldwide sounds simple, the fact is that many movies which are highly in demand in country A may well be illegal in country B. For example, Nextflix might well find themselves outright barred from doing business in Russia because of the availability of the movie Red Heat (an example only. I don't even know offhand if it's part of Netflix's offerings). Similarly, Mulan could get Netflix stopped at the Great Firewall of China. Any movie which portrays Islam in a bad light or Judaism in a positive way might well be a problem in much of the Middle East - and the reverse could well get Netflix locked out of Israel (I may be a Jew, but we're no saints!). Sooner or later, I suspect SNL reruns might be a problem for US audiences to watch.

      Those were the obvious examples. More exist. Netflix may not have all of the best content (personally, I love the stuff; then again, I'm only slightly newer than dirt), but not all of the world believes in freedom and free speech as much as we teach our schoolchildren we in the US do.

      • by klingens ( 147173 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @02:13PM (#53851631)

        While this is all correct: it doesn't matter at all.

        Netflix already has to do all this on top of the geoblocking they do in order to make Hollywood happy.
        So stopping one of the two reasons why they block different things in different countries is still a win. Only one blocking reason instead of two.

        • by mmell ( 832646 )
          Uh, okay - but they still need to geoblock, unless they want to make and control all of their own content. Netflix doesn't make this stuff up, it's a condition of their ability to bring you Star Trek, Angry Birds and Futurama, among other fine, high-quality products which they don't outright own. It's their bat, but it ain't just their ball and it sure ain't just their rules.
          • And all those contracts are based on copyright and other laws. Obviously, the EU can change those laws (subject to limitations in treaties, of course).
          • Of course it is 'their rules'. They don't need to agree to the de,and of the content owners, e.g.
            Especially as from their point of view the EU is one country anyway. Hence we now get an EU law pointing out to the streaming serveces: hello you idiots! You are in the EU!!

            The streaming services in Germany arbitrarily block other EU countries, regardless of the owner of the content. E.G. german shows that are 'free' are nevertheless blocked in France, because everything from germany is blocked in France or Spai

      • Countries that want to keep given kinds of content out are welcome to try firewalling. Doing this effectively for highly specific kinds of content costs diamonds and will deplete the treasury of any dictatorship with lesser resources than China. I consider this a feature, not a bug.

      • All those examples you bring are for a strnage reasons not members of the EU.

        • The EU part of the subject of debate. I intentionally used non-EU examples to avoid calls of "bootstrapping" my point. The examples are still relevant, and I stand by my assertion that Netflix would probably rather not spend the time and expense to geoblock if they didn't have to. It would mean more profit for them, after all.
          • Of course they would not want to spent the money.

            Point however is, netflix is just a name in the headline. There are plenty of EU only streaming services, like ZATOO that arbitrarily block content for no reason (there is no copyright or other invloved).

    • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @03:37PM (#53852065)

      Yes, I'd much rather the article had said "when Netflix was pressured to block the known IPs of VPN providers". They've publicly stated that they'd much prefer to have a single, global catalog, which makes sense from their perspective. I hope at some point they're influential enough to put enough pressure to demand global licensing for movies and shows, or tell the content producers to hit the road. Unfortunately the studios are also at war with Netflix, forcing them to turn into a studio themselves, so I'm not certain that's going to be happening soon.

      One could argue that both piracy and attempts to work around geo-blocking (using a VPN service typically) are both economic pressure on Hollywood studios as well, but I'm not sure they see it that way. Think about this when they complain about lost sales thanks to piracy, and remember how long these major industries resisted new technologies, historically speaking. Hollywood should be ecstatic that consumers are willing to pay subscription fees for digital content, but instead, they're clinging to the illusion that they can still charge premium access rates in the days of the internet+torrents. If the legal market charges too much, the black market will happily step in and correct the situation.

      Also, just fyi, it's "eke", not "eek".

  • Surely the customer is umm... the customer and so their location is irrelevant?

    General question: are there any examples of businesses looking after their customers' needs without there being a regulation 'requiring' them to?

  • Definitely pressurized. It's always easier to offer one, single catalog for the whole world rather than offering bits and pieces. It's sad Netflix has to succumb to immense pressure and he source of most of it seems obvious. I've been using ivacy vpn's manual config to make my way but I wish all the Netflix subscribers in the world had unconditional, out-of-the-box access to all of Netflix's content regardless of their location. I'm even betting users demanding more content might even be ready to pay a litt

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