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Let’s Talk TV – CRTC Roadmap to “Maximize Viewer Choice”

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued its fourth ”Let’s Talk TV” policy decision on the regulation of the Canadian television system.  Today’s decision is  A World of Choice – A roadmap to maximize choice for TV viewers and to foster a healthy, dynamic TV market.

The new roadmap affects the “basic” TV service Canadian subscribers receive, and adds new options for subscribers to choose additional services on a pick-and-pay or a la carte basis.

We wrote last week about the CRTC’s new regulatory measures geared to creating and showcasing Canadian content, set out in its policy decision The Way Forward – Creating Compelling and Diverse Canadian Programming.  Many of those decisions are geared to industry-based expenditure and exhibition requirements, and will have an indirect or gradual impact on viewers’ TV experience.  By comparison, today’s decisions take direct aim at viewer choice.

Skinny Basic

By March 2016, licensed broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) must offer a small basic, entry-level service that includes:

  • local and regional Canadian over-the-air (OTA) stations;
  • the applicable provincial / territorial educational service;
  • all  mandatory distribution “9(1)(h)” television services - about 15 channels, depending on the market; and
  • the community channel and the proceedings of the provincial legislature (if offered).

The basic package may also include other Canadian OTA stations in markets where fewer than 10 local or regional stations are available; local radio stations; an out-of-province designated educational service, and a set of “US 4+1 signals” (NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and PBS).  BDUs may not offer any other services in the basic package.

Moreover, the basic package must now be priced at or below $25.   The CRTC had de-regulated the basic package in 1997, stating at that time that deregulation represented “a fundamental change” for subscribers from a “20-year regulatory regime with Commission scrutiny” of basic service rates to a regime driven by market forces only.  With today’s decision, the Canadian regime is back  under Commission control, to further its policy of consumer control.

 Pick and Pay / A la carte 

In 2013, the Governor in Council (Cabinet) issued an Order in Council to the CRTC to report on how to maximize pick-and-pay in Canada.  In response, the CRTC observed that Canadians were getting “a more customized viewing experience” from online platforms, and considered how mandating increased choice and flexibility for television would potentially impact cable and satellite operators, broadcasters, and the production industry.

In today’s decision, the CRTC has taken the position that “it must take positive steps to bring about greater choice and flexibility in the Canadian television system”.

  • By March 2016, all licensed broadcast distributors (BDUs) must offer all discretionary services – meaning those not in the basic service – either on a pick-and-pay basis or in small, “reasonably priced” packages.  These packages may be set by the BDU or by the subscriber.
  • By December 2016, all licensed BDUs must offer all discretionary services on both a pick-and-pay basis and in small packages.

The CRTC noted the risk this “unbundling” poses to the Canadian system and the survival of some Canadian services; its greater concern was the risk it saw in “maintaining the status quo in a context of increased demand for more choice”.

Distribution of non-Canadian TV services

While the Commission entitled its decision ”A World of Choice”, the Commission has not changed the process for authorizing the entry of non-Canadian services.  The current List of non-programming services authorized for distribution (the List) includes a range of U.S. and other foreign services, including channels such as A&E, AMC, and MSNBC.   The Commission has authorized services on a case-by-case basis, permitting Canadian services to object to the addition of a new non-Canadian channel on the basis that it will unfairly overlap and compete with its own genre and nature of service.  The Commission will continue to authorize only those non-Canadian services that do not compete with Canadian specialty or pay services.

However, the CRTC is bringing the distribution of non-Canadian services in line with the rules set out in today’s policy regarding consumer choice.  As a condition of authorization – for existing services to remain on the List, and for new services applying to be added – the service must be offered on the basis of pick-and-pay and small packages.  The CRTC has said that “it expects non-Canadian services, as good corporate citizens, to continue to abide by the applicable rules …if they wish to continue to have their programming services available in Canada”.

An Expanded and Stricter Wholesale Code

In 2011, largely in response to what it considered to be imbalances in the wholesale marketplace brought about by “vertical integration” in the industry, the CRTC put in place a new regulatory framework for the commercial arrangements between BDUs, broadcasters, and digital media undertakings.  While the 2011 Code was originally drafted with certain mandatory requirements, the CRTC issued a correction to change various instances of “shall” to “should”.  Subsequently the CRTC applied elements of the Code to some licensees as a condition of licence.

Today, the CRTC not only effectively put the “shall” back into the Code for the industry as a whole, stating that it will be a regulatory requirement, not a guideline, for all licensed undertakings.  The CRTC also indicated that the Code will be expanded to include a number of additional prohibitions and mandatory requirements.  These are intended to ensure that the terms of wholesale agreements do not undermine or hinder choice and flexibility in the retail market.  New provisions, to enter into effect by September 2015, will target agreement terms that address packaging, service penetration and revenue guarantees, rate cards, and marketing.

Today’s decision was the 4th of 5 arising from the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV Proceeding.  The final decision is expected next week, under the CRTC’s “Protect” banner:  consumer protections, BDU Code of Conduct, industry ombudsman, and accessibility issues.

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Let’s Talk TV – CRTC Roadmap to “Maximize Viewer Choice”

Let’s Talk TV – Delayering 50 years of Regulation in “the Age of Abundance”

In an important policy decision issued today, “The way forward – Creating compelling and diverse Canadian programming”, the CRTC announced ”significant changes to bring the CRTC’s regulations and Canadian television forward into the Age of Abundance”, where content is everywhere online and on TV.  Commission Chair Jean-Pierre Blais warned the audience for his speech today to the Canadian Club of Ottawa that the sheer length of the policy decision - 323 paragraphs - “illustrates how complex it is to delayer regulatory rules built over the past 50 years.”

Genre Exclusivity

The delayering includes eliminating the genre exclusivity that many Canadian services have relied on for years.  This was no surprise, as the CRTC had previously announced its intention to review the policy and asked for comment not only whether to eliminate it, but also the “earliest feasible timeframe” to do so.

By way of background, the Commission has in the past licensed must-carry “Category A” services – such as HGTV Canada, Bravo!, Sportsnet 360, and YTV – on a one-per-genre basis.  Genre exclusivity is intended to prevent ”head-to-head” competition for Category A services with each other, or with any other linear service in Canada.  Category A services have been insulated at least in part from competition with other Canadian services (may-carry Category B services, and Category C news and sports services).  The rules to authorize non-Canadian services for distribution in Canada have also prohibited “direct competition” with Canadian services as a condition of authorization.  The “must carry” and the genre protection privileges for Category A services were designed in large part to ensure that the services achieved enough revenues to meet their Cancon and related programming obligations, and thereby maximize their contribution to the creation of Canadian programming.

In a 2013 Discussion Paper commissioned by the CRTC, Broadcast consultant Peter Miller concluded that

Genre exclusivity cannot be considered ‘smart regulation’.  It has elements that make it internally contradicting, ambiguous, difficult to understand, costly to enforce, and it may possibly be just plain wrong-headed for today’s Canadian broadcast system.  [...] The CRTC is not required to ‘rely on market forces to the extent possible’ in its regulation and supervision of the Canadian broadcasting system. But in this instance there is much to be said for doing just that.

In today’s decision, the CRTC stated that in the “Age of Abundance”:

the genre exclusivity policy is no longer needed to ensure programming diversity between services and [the CRTC] is therefore eliminating this policy. [...] By eliminating this policy, the Commission is removing regulatory barriers so as to allow entry by new programming services, programming flexibility and greater domestic competition.

Genre exclusivity will be retained only in the conditions of licence (COLs) for the so-called 9(1)(h) services that benefit from a CRTC mandatory distribution order.  Such services include CBC News, The Weather Network, and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).  Limited genre protections also remain for mainstream sports services.

For all other Category A services, it remains to be seen how market forces of supply and demand will impact what has been a regulated and “exclusive” space.

The Commission has significantly “delayered” or revised regulatory requirements in a number of other areas, summarized below.

A.  “Leveling the playing field” for SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) services

A new category of ”hybrid” SVOD services will be exempt from licensing.  These hybrid services would be available both over the closed facilities of a broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU), and also delivered and accessed over the Internet.  Such SVOD services would be able to offer exclusive content – just as exempt online-only services can do – as long as that content is available over the Internet to all Canadians without BDU subscriber authentication.

The CRTC has issued a call for comments on revisions to the VOD exemption order and standard conditions of licence for VOD services.  Comments are due April 27.

B.  Promotion and “discoverability” of Canadian programming

Promotional and marketing expenses for Canadian-made content

Independent broadcasters may use up to 10% of the amount they invest in programs for marketing and promotion, including payments to other broadcasters for paid promos.

Local Availabilities to Promote Canadian Programs

Local availabilities, or “local avails”, are the two minutes per hour of reserved advertising time in non-Canadian specialty channels.  Broadcast distributors in Canada contract with the non-Canadian channels to insert promotional materials in these avails.

Under the current regulatory regime, 75% of this time is made available to Canadian broadcasters to promote their services, to promote the community channel, and for unpaid Canadian PSAs.  25% has been available to broadcast distributors for information on and promotions for distributors’ services.

Going forward, at least 75% of local avails must be used to promote first-run, original Canadian programs.  The remaining 25% can be used to promote Canadian channels and broadcast distribution services.

C.  Funding models for Canadian-made programs

As exceptions to the CRTC’s standard Canadian program certification process – and subject to certain streamlined criteria – the CRTC is launching the following pilot projects:

Pilot project 1:  CRTC will recognize adaptations of best-selling novels by Canadian authors as Canadian live-action drama and comedy productions.

Pilot project 2:  CRTC will recognize Canadian live-action drama and comedy productions with a budget of at least $2 million per hour as Canadian productions.

D.  Terms of Trade

In a 2007 policy decision, the CRTC encouraged the development of terms of trade agreements between broadcasters and independent producers.  In the years following that decision, the CRTC imposed adherence to a terms of trade agreement with the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) as a condition of licence for large English-language TV groups, and for the CBC.  The CRTC has now – to the surprise of many in the industry – stated that it will eliminate those conditions of licence effective April 29, 2016, stating that “it is no longer necessary for the Commission to intervene in this relationship by requiring adherence to terms of trade agreements”.

E. Cancon quotas

In its policy shift from “quantity to quality”, the CRTC is eliminating the daytime quotas for Cancon for local TV stations; the quota for prime time remains at 50%.  For specialty channels, 35% of all programs broadcast overall must be made by Canadians.  This sweeps away varied levels from 15% to 85%, depending on the service, and does away with a specific quota for prime time.

F.  Viewer Information:  Set-top boxes

Industry stakeholders are to form a working group to develop an audience measurement system based on STB data.  The group is to report back to the CRTC by June 10 on its progress on technical standards, privacy protections, a governance structure, and cost-sharing.

Privacy protection issues have long been raised in this area as a key concern.  The collection and sharing of viewer data has also received recent media coverage in the context of user commands to Smart TVs.  STB data collection, use and disclosure proposals can be expected to be watched closely by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

G.  National news services

Existing and new Canadian news services will have to meet additional regulatory criteria.  Going forward, they must broadcast an annual average of 16 hours per day, 7 days per week, of original programming.  95% of their programming must be drawn from specific news-oriented categories. They must also operate a live broadcast facility, and have news bureaus in at least 3 other regions.

Next Steps

The Commission has called for comments on the proposed exemption order for hybrid VOD services, and will be amending regulations and conditions of licence in further proceedings, to implement today’s policy decisions.

The Commission will also be issuing decisions on pick-and-pay (a la carte) programming and related issues in the coming days.

 

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Let’s Talk TV – Delayering 50 years of Regulation in “the Age of Abundance”

I Want What She’s Getting – “Favored Nations” Clauses in Entertainment Contracts

The “favored nations” or “most favored nations” or “MFN” concept/clause, while not omnipresent in entertainment contracts, certainly gets its fair share of use. This post will explore the purpose and operation of FN and MFN (there is a (slight) difference!). (A note on spelling: Canadian usage prefers “favoured”, but in order to maximize our appearance in search results, this post will use the American spelling of “favored”.)

Background

Favored nations clauses are relatively simple to describe: they are a contractual commitment that no other relevant party will receive “better” (or more advantageous) terms from the party making the commitment. In the entertainment industries, they appear most often in three contexts: in music licensing arrangements; in film/TV/theatre actor deals; and in investment agreements (e.g., where an investor is providing funds for an entertainment project). The music licensing context provides perhaps the most straight-forward illustration of how a favored nations clause operates. Imagine a producer wants to license a song for use in their movie – to keep things simple, we will assume a single publisher owns all publishing rights in the composition and a single record company owns all rights in the sound recording. The license agreements that the producer enters into with the publisher and the record company will almost certainly contain a favored nations clause, which will look something like this (taken from an actual sync license!):

“no co-publisher of the Composition and no master recording owner of the Composition shall receive proportionately more favorable remuneration of any kind including, but not limited to, the Fee.  In the event that you pay our co-publisher and/or the master recording owner of the Composition a higher pro-rata fee than the Fee paid to us hereunder, you shall pay to us the difference between such higher pro-rata fee and that Fee paid to us”

In other words, if you’re paying the publisher $5,000, you can’t pay the record company $7,500 – or you can, but then you have to pay the publisher another $2,500 so that they get equal treatment. Of course, FN/MFN clauses can be much simpler (“on terms no less favorable than those accorded to any other [actor/investor]“) or much more complicated (as we’ll see below).

Favored nations clauses are particularly useful when dealing with relatively large groups of counterparties who are similarly situated – which is why they are employed so often in the actor and investor contexts. For example, when a producer is dealing with a group of actors each of whom have approximately equal screentime and bargaining power, or with investors who are all providing roughly the same amount of funds at the same time in order to finance a production. The favored nations clause offers the advantages of efficiency and protection from structural negotiating disadvantages such as lack of complete information and disparities in bargaining power. For the actor/investor, because they don’t have full knowledge of the deal terms that other actors/investors are obtaining in their negotiations with the producer, the favored nations clause offers the comfort of knowing they are being treated at least as good as (or no worse than) their peers. For the producer, offering a favored nations commitment means that they don’t have to maintain multiple sets of negotiations over the same terms (e.g., the definition of “net profits”), but rather can simply negotiate with the best-placed counterparty and then apply the agreed-upon term to all parties.

A Digression on Terminology

Earlier I mentioned a slight distinction between “favored nations” and “most favored nations” – though the distinction is not always drawn, it’s useful to highlight it; while the two terms can be (and often are) used interchangeably, they can also be used to contrast quite different situations. “Most favored nations” (or MFN) is best used to describe the treatment given to a particular individual – it is a form of protection accorded to a single counterparty, to assure them that no similarly-situated counterparty is getting a better deal than they are. “Favored nations” is best used to describe the treatment given to a group of people – it is a form of protection accorded to a set of counterparties. To illustrate: it is entirely possible/acceptable to have only one person on a production get the benefit of a “most favored nations”/MFN clause (e.g., your highest paid actor); it makes better sense to use “favored nations” when you’re describing everyone within a particular group (e.g., all of your actors are being given “favored nations” protection with respect to on-set perquisites). That being said, for the balance of this post and in order to avoid clunky repetition, I’ll use “favored nations” to cover both situations.

Two Kinds of Scope

When drafting favored nations clauses, “scope” is important – but scope in this context has two different connotations: scope as it relates to which terms of the contract the favored nations protection applies to, and scope as it relates to the class of peers or comparators against whom the favored nations protection will be measured. I’ll address both connotations in turn.

Scope re Terms

It is critical for the parties in a favored nations arrangement to specify which terms of the contract are affected by the favored nations protection. There will inevitably be tension here: the party benefiting from the favored nations protection will want to cast the scope of it as widely as possible, while the party granting the favored nations protection will want its scope to be as narrow as possible. Here is a partial list indicating how many potential aspects of an actor’s deal could be subject to favored nations protection:

  • the amount of the actor’s fixed fee for services
  • the timing of the payment of the actor’s fee
  • on-set perqs (e.g., size of dressing room, amenities in dressing room)
  • off-set perqs (e.g., invitations and travel to premieres)
  • travel arrangements (e.g., business class airfare vs economy class)
  • accommodations (e.g., size, location and amenities of hotel lodgings)
  • presence, thresholds and quantum of box office bonuses
  • presence, quantum and definition of “net profits”
  • participation in ancillary revenue streams (e.g., merchandising)
  • on-screen and paid ad credits (e.g., size, placement, prominence, duration, etc.)

As the foregoing should serve to illustrate, an open-ended commitment to “favored nations” protection can be the starting point for an awful lot of headaches down the road if the scope of its application is not spelled out. Similarly, saying something as generic as “compensation” or “credit” is subject to favored nations protection is a recipe for potential disputes.

Scope re Comparables

Consideration must also be given to which contracts will serve as the standard against which the favored nations commitment is measured. For example, is the actor being given favored nations protection as compared to all other actors on the project, or as compared to all other “above-the-line” participants on the project (e.g., what if the director gets a better definition of “net profits”) or some other sub-set of individuals? Producers may want to create different pools of comparatives so as to ensure that they don’t inadvertently accord benefits which should be reserved for a particular class of counterparties – maybe the actors playing the roles of the two lead characters have star wattage an order of magnitude brighter than anyone else on the project and so their treatment needs to be carved out of everyone else’s favored nations clause. Or, when dealing with investors, there are five investors in a film who are each investing $50,000, and then another three investors who are each investing $250,000 – the producer may want to accord each investor favored nations protection only vis-a-vis the other investors at their tier of investment.

Enforcement

Enforcing favored nations clauses is notoriously difficult: the same informational disadvantage which leads parties to want favored nations protection in the first place means that they have difficulty ever knowing whether their entitlement to protection has been triggered by someone getting a better deal. Contract provisions might also be subject to confidentiality obligations, meaning that counterparties are restricted from sharing the terms of their deal with each other (though the ability to share such information for “policing” purposes might be carved out of the confidentiality obligation). In cases where a collection account is used, examination of the entitlements of the various parties may reveal discrepancies which indicate a breach. In some circumstances, it may be that the only way to reveal the breach of a favored nations clause is to undertake an audit of the books and records of the production company, or via disclosure in the course of a lawsuit.

Conclusion

Whether favored nations provisions should be included in one or more contracts on a project will be a function of a variety of considerations: bargaining power, legal budget, number of counterparties, etc. The favored nations clause can be a useful device for both parties to a contract, though it comes weighted with risks – which can be ameliorated by careful drafting.

I Want What She’s Getting – “Favored Nations” Clauses in Entertainment Contracts

Team Dentons Wants You! (well, not you specifically, just one of the people reading this post)

The National Entertainment Group at Dentons Canada LLP is hiring a Business Affairs Coordinator (to be located in either the Toronto or Vancouver office). The Coordinator will work with the members of the entertainment law team in, among other responsibilities, drafting production contracts, preparing funding applications, and closing financing transactions. Among the requirements for the position are 5-7 years experience in the entertainment industry (with a concentration in film or television). Legal training as a lawyer, paralegal or law clerk is an asset, but is not required.

Further details about the position can be obtained by downloading this description of the opportunity: Business Affairs Coordinator. Qualified applicants should submit their cover letter and resume by email to resumes.toronto@dentons.com

Team Dentons Wants You! (well, not you specifically, just one of the people reading this post)

Netflix’s Apparent Crackdown on Geoblock Circumventers

Recent reports indicate that Netflix may be cracking down on the use of virtual private networks (VPN) and similar mechanisms to log into Netflix. While VPNs provide enhanced network security, they are commonly used by Netflix users to circumvent Netflix’s geographic restrictions (commonly known as “geoblocking”).

As savvy Netflixers know, Netflix’s library is different from one region to the next. For example, Netflix US’s library is nearly three-times larger than Netflix Canada’s. Feeling slighted, many Canadian Netflixers use a VPN to trick Netflix into thinking that they are logging in from the US, granting them access to Netflix’s US library (side note: when I discussed the VPN crackdown with a colleague her response was something to the effect of “of course you want to log into Netflix US. Netflix Canada sucks”, followed by what has become the standard “…though it has gotten better”).

Because I know you, the reader, are on the edge of your seat wondering what the legal issue is (you are, after all, reading an entertainment law blog), I will spell it out for you: licensing. Put simply, except for shows which Netflix produces itself (a small, though increasingly prominent portion of its library), Netflix must sign licensing agreements to include third party content in its libraries and these licenses are typically on a territorial basis. According to Netflix:

In general, content is bid for and licensed on a country by country basis (in some instances, licensing occurs on a regional basis as in Latin America).

In launching our service in a new international market, we must license a content portfolio for that country.

Further restrictions may be imposed by industry practices such as “windowing”, which is used by industry participants to determine how, when and to which mediums a movie is released following its theatrical run (it is beyond the scope of this post to review windowing in-depth. The New York Times has done a pretty good job of doing my work for me.

The long and short of it is that, in many cases, Netflix is only licensed to show a particular movie or television show within a particular territory, shutting out users outside of that territory. So, for example, Netflix may have acquired the rights to stream a show in the United States, but the rights to stream the same show in Canada may have been previously acquired by a different company — often a direct competitor of Netflix – so, unless Netflix is able to obtain the Canadian rights from one of its competitors, Canadian Netflix subscribers will be out of luck. Geoblocking measures are then implemented to restrict users’ access to content in territories where Netflix is not licensed to stream that particular content.

All things being equal, Netflix could pay more to license a film or television show in more territories but, according to Netflix, the service already spends upwards of $3 Billion per year on content. While Netflix had an advantage in its formative years, having moved into the streaming space earlier than most, licenses are typically granted for a fixed period, so existing licenses will need to be renegotiated, and licensing costs have increased exponentially (700% since 2011). One must also keep in mind that the content industry is fragmented, so Netflix must negotiate licenses with several different producers/distributors, and must bid against other service providers for licensing rights (which is likely to become more costly in Canada with industry heavyweights Bell and Rogers entering the streaming arena with CraveTV and shomi, respectively).

So, what about that VPN “crackdown”? While VPN providers have noted some issues accessing Netflix, Netflix has issued a statement saying “[v]irtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restrictions. We employ industry standard measures to prevent this kind of use. There hasn’t been any recent changes to the Netflix VPN policy or terms of use”, so there may not in fact be a crackdown. With that said, Netflix has been the subject of lobbying efforts to enforce licensing restrictions and may face increased pressure if service providers such as Rogers, Bell or HBO (which recently started a streaming service of its own) sign exclusive licensing agreements with certain producers/distributors or for certain titles in a particular territory.

You might be wondering if using a VPN to circumvent geoblocking contravenes Canada’s Copyright Act (the Act) (you are not alone – others have asked the same question). Section 41.1 of the Act prohibits, amongst other things, circumventing “technological protection measures” (TPM) or providing a service that circumvents TPMs. The Act defines a TPM as “any effective technology, device or component that, in the ordinary course of its operation, (a) controls access to a work… and whose use is authorized by the copyright owner; or (b) restricts the doing… of any act referred to in section 3, 15 or 18 and any act for which remuneration is payable under section 19”. “Circumvent” is also defined in the Act, meaning to “descramble a scrambled work or decrypt an encrypted work” under (a) above, or to “avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate or impair [a TPM]” under (a) or (b) above.

No Canadian court has yet ruled on whether (i) geoblocking amounts to a TPM or (ii) using a VPN to circumvent geoblocking is a circumvention of a TPM.  But, TPM is defined broadly in the act, encompassing any effective technology and geoblocking is designed to control access to licensed works (in Netflix’s case, the content). VPNs, which trick Netflix into thinking a subscriber is logging in from a different location, help users avoid or bypass geoblocks. Consequently, in this writer’s opinion, a court could find that geoblocking is a TPM and that using a VPN or offering a VPN service to evade geoblocking amounts to a violation of section 41.1 of the Act,[1] meaning that the Act could be an effective tool for restricting Netflix subscribers’ ability to circumvent geoblocking.

In Australia, which has a similar clause to section 41.1 in its own copyright legislation, a parliamentary report recognized a distinction between TPMs and geoblocking. However, Australia’s legislation can be distinguished because it carves out from the definition of TPMs technology that “controls geographic market segmentation” if the work at issue is a cinematograph film.

Alternatively, our friends in the US have cast a wary eye at people who circumvent technology used to block them from accessing specific internet content. Notably, in Craigslist Inc. v. 3TAPS Inc. et al. Judge Breyer of the United States District Court, N.D. California held that using a VPN to circumvent an IP blocking mechanism violated the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [2] (the CFAA). (It must be noted, however, that the CFAA is not copyright legislation)

By being the first large-scale international movie and television show streaming service Netflix has been able to act with a certain level of latitude, both in negotiating licensing agreements and in enforcing its VPN policies. But for international Netflixers envious of the more extensive US library, the Wild West days where they are free to pretend they are located in the US might be nearing an end.


The author gratefully acknowledges Bob Tarantino’s comments and assistance in preparing this post.

[1] Provided that the TPM is authorized by the copyright owner.
[2] The CFAA criminalizes intentionally accessing a computer without authorization and obtaining information from that computer

Netflix’s Apparent Crackdown on Geoblock Circumventers