Author Topic: VPNs, blocked content, and morality  (Read 571 times)

GuitarStv

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VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« on: July 27, 2018, 11:34:35 AM »
I've been watching the Tour de France this year.  I really just like to catch the highlights from each stage, and my favorite commentators are the British folks from ITV (it can be painful watching North American commentary sometimes).  Now, near as I can figure there's no legal way for me to watch the ITV coverage of the Tour . . . unless I lived in the UK, in which case it's available for free on demand.

So this year (as with the past three years) I've been using a VPN to pretend that my IP is in the UK so I can watch the Tour commentary that I prefer.

From what I can tell this is certainly illegal (for reasons that don't make sense to me), but is this morally wrong?

RWD

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 11:53:45 AM »
Best I can tell from a few minutes of searching Freeview is essentially advertising for the participating broadcast companies (ITV, BBC, etc.). So because you aren't based in the UK the bandwidth is wasted on you as you'll never pay them for a TV subscription. I'm not sure what actual law(s) you'd be breaking though.

Morally wrong is hard to say. The effect of a few people bypassing the restriction is negligible, but if enough people did it then it would certainly cost ITV money for increased bandwidth/servers. Depending on your moral compass perhaps you feel information should be free to all.

driftwood

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 11:59:36 AM »
UK residents who watch live TV pay a Screen Tax. So that's why it's 'free' for them.

Morally...well that depends on the people judging the morality of the action. Since you asked, I'll say yes it is. But on the other hand, driving 1 mph over the speed limit is both illegal and immoral (if you believe that the moral thing to do is obey the law), but you'll find that most folks are fine with breaking the law 'a little bit' and can give all sort of reasons why they think it 'isn't that wrong'.

I think it's human nature to do what we want, and that includes doing things that are against our society's laws. But maybe that's ok.

e34bb098

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 12:10:16 PM »
You're free riding on the backs of the British taxpayer due to the screen tax.  But people free ride all the time on any number of things.  So it's pretty marginal, at best.  Maybe go see who ITV's main advertisers are, and go buy something from them?  Or just don't worry about it.

FIRE@50

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 12:19:07 PM »
I doubt that ITV would have an issue with you watching their programming. It is actually your local network that paid for the exclusive rights to broadcast it in your area that is losing out.

Is ITV posting anything on their YouTube page? Is anyone else posting it on YouTube? That's normally the first place I look for live sporting events.

megaschnauzer

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 12:42:56 PM »
i do the same thing for cyclocross season although i do pay for nbc sports gold to watch the world cup races. it doesn't keep me up at night.

katsiki

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 12:49:05 PM »
Did you look into signing up already?  https://www.itv.com/hub/user/signup

In a quick review of their agreements, it appears some content is offered free.  Perhaps, it is only available in certain countries (they do ask for post code).


ketchup

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2018, 12:59:52 PM »
I doubt that ITV would have an issue with you watching their programming. It is actually your local network that paid for the exclusive rights to broadcast it in your area that is losing out.

Is ITV posting anything on their YouTube page? Is anyone else posting it on YouTube? That's normally the first place I look for live sporting events.
This.  That's why it's blocked in your area.  To make your local distributor happy.

If your local distributor sucks, and you wouldn't have been interested in their product anyway, the only thing you are costing anyone is bandwidth on ITV's side.  And bandwidth is cheap, at least one stream's worth.

Almost like how for a while it was literally impossible to pay for Game of Thrones in Australia... and still impossible if you're an American on a trip in Australia.  My GF was in Australia last year while GoT was airing, and she wanted to watch it.  We had a paid HBO Now account here in the US (at the time), but that won't work from an Australian IP.  She tried to sign up for Foxtel Now (I think), the Australian channel that carries it and has a streaming service, but she couldn't pay for it with an American credit card.  So she pirated it.  Who loses there?

scottish

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2018, 03:50:54 PM »
You  know what?   Abiding by their rules just hurts their competitiveness by promoting their outdated business model.

It's like watching movies or TV series.   I'd be perfectly happy to pay a couple of bucks to download the movie so I can watch it where ever and when ever.   But this isn't available, I have to stream it.

It's actually easier to pirate the movie than it is to buy it.

Screw em. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 03:57:39 PM »
This happens all the time.  I wanted to watch CBC coverage of the winter Olympics when I was in the US one year.  Could not get it on my computer.   NBC coverage wasn't showing what I wanted to see.

GuitarStv

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Re: VPNs, blocked content, and morality
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2018, 04:58:41 PM »
Did you look into signing up already?  https://www.itv.com/hub/user/signup

In a quick review of their agreements, it appears some content is offered free.  Perhaps, it is only available in certain countries (they do ask for post code).

I have been an ITV hub member for four years now.  You do need to provide a fake UK address though, and even then you can't access the content unless your IP looks like it's from the UK (hence my VPN use).