by Andrew Brett WatsonPublished in Interesting
I live in Spain and I am an English native speaker, which means I am constantly browsing websites which link to videos that are blocked in my country. Presumably this is because someone has paid for the rights to broadcast (is word still even appropriate?) in this country. Invariably that means it was once shown on TV (in Spanish) and is not available anywhere else legitimately on the internet. I'm sure TV channels and web video services can't seam to find a contractually amicable way of allowing me to watch video in the same way it was designed for the people the country of origin (usually the US). Apparently a simple fix like allowing everyone to view content no matter where they are from and forwarding advertising revenue to the applicable rights holder (including those who have purchased the rights to the content for another geographic location) based on where the viewer is would to difficult.
So I constantly get error messages to tell me content is not available in my country or it has been blocked etc. The problem is, most (if not practically all) of this content I have happened upon via a link. It's actually very seldom I even know what the content I am about to watch is when "content is blocked" message appears because in cases where I'm not following a link, I just look it up directly through a service that allows viewing in my country to begin with. So when an error pops up and tells me I can't watch it because it's not available outside the US and I have too little information to find the linked content otherwise, I simply can't watch it at all. So, nobody will get any revenue from advertising.
Here is how I get around it:
Block content is a problem no more. Although I have tried many other ways to view blocked videos in the past nothing has ever been as easy and convenient as Hola. Hola is a browser extension that make's it easy to view videos that are blocked in your country by helping you to pretend you come from the country the content was intended for. It uses a virtual private network to channel your data, in essence Hola asks for the blocked data from their server located in the right country then feeds the data on to you.
Is it legal? Well, to be honest, most of the sites that block content by country stipulate that by using their sites, you agree to their terms and conditions. I assume that somewhere (you'd have to check on a site by site basis) in the terms an conditions it will state that you are not allowed to access their video services via a proxy or vpn. But here's the thing. I only use it to find out enough information about a link I followed to look it up elsewhere. Sometimes I just need to see the title so I can search for it elsewhere where I am sure I am legally allowed to view it from. Often I will bypass the blocked country message just to get the information need to look it up on youtube. I won't actually watch it on:
Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, BBC iPlayer, iTV Player, CBS, or Fox.
Ironically, the video I end up watching is normally a reposted video on youtube for which the original content creater is not getting any revenue whatsoever.
Wouldn't it be better to just let me watch it when I get there? To find someway to ensure ad revenue goes to the correct rights holders regardless of where the content is consumed? Most online advertising systems can do this, why can't T.V?
I hope that content creators eventually get it together stop making online video browsing life such a pain for those who may be a little outside the norm.