New Zealand, along with Australia, is one of the countries most hosed by copyright laws in the world. TV shows popular the world over are only (legally) available to New Zealanders if they pay for extortionately expensive cable TV packages, rather than being allowed to stream shows from sites such as Netflix for a low-cost monthly subscription fee. Not surprisingly, copyright piracy in New Zealand is rife!
Last month we reported on how plucky New Zealand ISP Slingshot was challenging this status quo by opening up a VPN service known as ‘Global Mode’ to all its customers. General manager Taryn Hamilton was quite happy to admit this was designed to allow users to watch geo-restricted content,
‘No beating around the bush. This is to watch Netflix, this is to watch BBC iPlayer, this is to watch Hulu, this is to watch Amazon Prime… This is basically going to enable that to happen … any Slingshot customer by default if they type in Netflix, it will work. If they type in Hulu it will work.’
We suspected at the time that such a move would not go down well with the copyright Nazi’s back in Holywood, and the first signs of this are in Sky TV’s refusal to carry a series of ads for Slingshot’s internet service because of their references to Global Mode. Sky TV spokeswoman Kirsty Way explained the decision,
‘We are a business that pays people who create television so we are against any form of piracy or the undermining of intellectual property rights,’ adding that Global Mode allowed users to access Netflix, which ‘did not pay for content rights in this territory.’
Hamilton expressed disappointment at the decision, saying the ban was ‘unjustified and petty’, and that it smacked of protectionism and censorship. He also defended Global Mode, saying,
‘Kiwis wanted to access to quality streaming video at a good price… When and if local companies manage to finally crack that, then there will be no need for the service. But, until that time, people will use services like Global Mode so that they can see decent TV without having to get a second mortgage.’