InternetNZ today released a video comparing geoblocking of New Zealanders to passport control at a supermarket checkout.
This release coincides with this week's switching off of the Global Mode service, which allowed New Zealanders to pay for and access overseas streaming services.
InternetNZ Chief Executive, Jordan Carter, says New Zealanders lost a popular option for accessing the content they want.
"Our video asks New Zealanders if this is what we want from our copyright law.
“Watching and listening to media online is now as normal as shopping in the supermarket. New Zealanders would not put up with a law that stopped us buying our favourite foods. We think the same applies to online content streaming and other services.”
Copyright law has big effects on what we can do, watch, and share online and the Copyright Act is due for a review in the next couple of years.
“We are asking people to think about these questions now, so that the upcoming reform of copyright law delivers what New Zealanders want,” says Mr Carter.
Geoblocking means excluding paying customers from outside a particular country or region. With Global Mode turned on, customers of some New Zealand ISPs could access content as if they lived in an unrestricted region. This proved a popular way for New Zealanders to access new episodes of Game of Thrones and other TV series. This innovation proved less than popular with local companies that had purchased exclusive rights to such content. Part of the copyright law discussion to come is about the degree to which such deals - which work against the openness and consumer choice people want - should be protected in law.
Media companies brought legal action alleging that the Global Mode service breached copyright law. The case did not go to court. Despite uncertainty about the legal position, a settlement between the parties saw the Global Mode services switched off on 1 September.