ByMark J. Guillen, writer at
Canadians hiding behind virtual private networks are allegedly stealing content.

If reports are to be believed in, it is alleged that Canadians are involved in stealing of Netflix Inc.’s (NASDAQ:NFLX) content, according to Mary Ann Turcke, President of Bell Media. She believes that those behind the VPN (virtual private networks) to access streaming video meant for the US viewers are responsible for the act.

Her comments were made after her own daughter discovered that she was able to log onto US Web streaming service in Canada through the US-based VPN to mask the address and was able to discover that there were additional movie and TV content available in the US Netflix as compared to the Canadian version.

This raises an important point: why do Americans have more choice than Canadians do when it comes to options for streaming and downloading movies? Apparently, that may be due to the distribution rights. The bigger issue here is the grey area that has been exploited whether the act of ‘VPNing’ amounts to crime or not. Ms. Turcke replied in the affirmation, since it is equivalent to any other form of stealing.

Because of VPNing, Netflix took notice of this and is now planning to sue those VPN operators, since it runs afoul to the company’s term of use. The US-based online streaming service company did not respond for comments on the distribution rights violation, despite many attempts to get their side of the story.

Currently, it is revealed that Canadians have access to around a quarter of content that is meant for US subscribers. For that to end, Bell Media’s CTV English language network needs to seek support from its other fellow broadcasters and the federal government, along with regulator. That could be a tough task, since it would be difficult, considering “how to” articles for getting around copyright laws have been published openly in the print and electronic media, meaning many can take a step further in case the federal authorities tighten their grip around copyright violators.

Another question that arises is that whether VPN is also morally wrong too. Ms. Turcke reiterated her stance by pointing out that discovering something new does not mean that content could be watched free, even if it was discovered unintentionally.

Netflix stock price ended the day at $651.52, a massive decline of less than 2% than the previous trading week, though it is not entirely related to the just released revelation, which might had caused the stock price fluctuation further.


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