Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday June 5, 2015
Canadians are ‘stealing’ U.S. Netflix content: Bell
Bell Media’s new president has a message for Canadians who hide behind virtual private networks to access video streaming services intended for U.S. subscribers, calling the practice “stealing just like stealing anything else.”
“It takes behavioral change and it is the people — friend to friend, parent to child, coworker to coworker — that set the cultural framework for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour,” Mary Ann Turcke said Wednesday in her first major speech since assuming the post in April.
“It has to become socially unacceptable to admit that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix — like throwing garbage out your car window – you just don’t do it.”
Turcke, formerly Bell’s group president of media sales for local TV and radio, cited her 15-year-old daughter’s discovery of the additional movie and TV content of U.S. Netflix versus the Canadian version while on a ski vacation stateside.
The teenager was able to log onto the U.S. Web streaming service when back home using a U.S.-based VPN to mask her address.
“She was told she was stealing.” Turcke said. “Suffice to say there is no more VPNing.”
With an estimated one third of Netflix Canada customers accessing content meant for U.S. subscribers, she said “we need to personalize the fact that content is produced by real people, and that stealing it affects their livelihoods.”
Broadcasters including Bell Media’s CTV English-language network need the support of government and the federal regulator, she said, noting that the latter plans a summit in the fall to contemplate “illegal discoverability.” In the end, she said, “I believe it is on us.”
Not only does society not scold anyone for stealing content, Turcke added, but we feature “how to” articles in our national newspapers — educating the masses on how to get around copyright law. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)