Don’t worry, I get it. We all do it. Everybody in their right mind wants American Netflix. It’s got a better selection, sometimes three or four times or sometimes even six times more content than other national counterparts. If you’re in one of those beleaguered states across the pond, or even just to the north, it’s become almost second nature to use some VPN on your browser. After all, many of you are paying the same as American Netflix users. But that may not continue for much longer. Netflix now has its sights set on blocking anyone outside the US trying to access American content. Don’t believe me? It’s already started.
Call Me Biased
Okay, so maybe being a Canadian, you could call me biased. But it’s not just me. Everyone I know uses one application or another for accessing American Netflix. It’s just so much better. So much so, that it’s sparked an interesting debate – why are non-American Netflix users paying the same as Americans, for a tiny share of the content? Even my parents, who currently live in Switzerland and decry me every time I download a song from Uwire, are using a VPN to access American Netflix. If we are paying for premium TV and film content, why don’t we get access to the full share?
Now, I understand the general reasons behind Netflix’s decision. Certain programs, services, and films are only legally distributed in America, and anyone that accesses that content from beyond the border is, in no small means, breaking the law. However, given the increasingly global nature of internet content, streaming and so on, it becomes evident that U.S. and indeed, global distribution law, is terribly, laughably, behind the times. Simply put, you can’t police the internet like you would police a physical state. There are too many back doors, too many entrances and exits, and far too many offenders. In terms of legal policy, the efforts at policing the Internet have miscarried so significantly that it might be considered a failed state – like the Yemen, or parts of Afghanistan.
If laws cannot keep up with the times, they ought to be changed. And what’s so terrible, really, about a poor Swiss girl coming home from school and using a VPN to watch new episodes of Arrested Development? At least she’s paying $8.99 per month to Netflix, rather than streaming it from some godawful, advertisement laden site at less than 720p.
Who’s Ordering Takeaway?
So here’s the takeaway – distribution policy sucks worldwide, and you shouldn’t give in to the silliness and posturing. Until that time when you can’t do anything about it, keep using that VPN, keep popping that popcorn, and keep snuggling up next to that partner of choice on the couch. And thank God you’re not reduced to watching the same first season of Star Trek: TNG, like some of those sorry sods in Europe.