StarBlazer:sultanoswing: The price negotiated is based on Movieflix's subscriber base in, say, the US. If in fact the US, UK, Australia, NZ and Japan peeps are all watching "Spidey Part 12: The Reboot" via geo-unblockers, then Movieflix is getting a whole lot of subs money from around the world, but only paying to show it to its "official" US customer base. Warner Sisters then goes to NZ and there's less interest (=less $$$) because a bunch of people have somehow already seen it.
This argument is based on whether Movieflix counts the NZ subscribers as US or NZ. If I were to sign up to Movieflix I would have to provide a ZIP code in the US to sign up as part of their registration process, therefore for all intents and purposes, Movieflix includes me in their negotiated rate for US distribution.
InternetNZ is surprised and bemused by recent comments from the Chief Censor that he is considering "prosecuting" Slingshot over its GlobalMode service that enabled Internet users to access sites that were otherwise blocked in New Zealand.
InternetNZ does not believe that an Internet Service Provider is responsible for what its customers do on the Internet and that to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where Internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers.
InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter says that CallPlus has every right to provide this service. “The courts have not decided that the service is illegal,” he says. Comments from the Censor would seem to single out ISPs for special treatment, and that isn’t good for the Internet or for Internet users.
"I don't recall the Censor making similar claims when NZ Post started YouShop, enabling customers to order items that were unavailable in NZ and have them delivered to a phoney address in the United States.
"We don't criticise road construction companies for speeding
and we don't attack phone-line companies if someone makes a prank call.
“To suggest that Slingshot is responsible for what its customers do on the Internet is not a good idea, and not something to be encouraged."
Mr Carter says that the online world should be analogous to the offline world with regards to law like this and the reported comments from the Censor's office do not help.
“The reality of Internet-based services is that the border becomes less important. Rather than this reactive approach, the Censor would be better placed starting a conversation about how censorship questions should be dealt with in the Internet age,” says Mr Carter.
JimmyH:Jaxar: I agree they are not bypassing copyright laws. They are enabling users to do so.
Except users aren't bypassing "copyright laws", as I tried to explain. They are just cutting out the expensive local exclusive distributor - just like they do when they buy books, magazines, footwear, cameras and clothing from a cheaper international vendor than the local agent.Firstly bypassing geolocking is small bucks in the greater scheme of copyright protection for studios but more importantly it isn't the movie studios money that is under threat. It is the regional rights holders money that is under threat. Now as for nothing having being done about this well actually this is what the link article by the OP is about.
Yes, exactly. It doesn't hurt the studios, as they still get paid. It hurts the local distributors who are providing poor service at inflated prices. Copyright laws are about controlling duplication, not parallel importing of legitimate product. If it was illegal copying the studios would jump on it with a lawsuit, and so would the local distributor. The fact that Spark (a big, well resourced, company with a first-class legal team) is reduced to complaining to the censor to try and stifle competition, rather than taking a court case alleging a loss because of copyright law breaches by the parties in question, tells me pretty clearly that they know they haven't got a leg to stand on in a copyright sense.
Now your final statement leaves be a bit confused although I do like the analogy. I agree going after CourierPost because they unwittingly transporting illegal goods, advertising their ability to move goods and making it easy for people criminals and otherwise is nonsense. Where do we draw the line though? When does it become right to go after the carrier or enabler? What arguments are there to say it is right to go after megaupload but not global mode or its equivalent? To be clear I'm not arguing it is right to go after both one or neither. I'm interested in the reasoning of why some people would agree with going after one but not the other?
Really, I thought it was crystal clear. An ISP offering global mode knowingly enables me to legally parallel import digital product, which I have paid for. Thereby bypassing the local distributor. NZ Post carrying a box marked "Amazon" knowingly enables me to legally parallel import a book. Thereby bypassing the local distributor. And please stop conflating global mode and megaupload. One enables the legal parallel import of a product/service, for which the studio/vendor get paid. The other involves illegal copying in breach of the law. They aren't the same thing.
I asked earlier where we should or do draw the line.
Between parallel importing and illegal copying. That's where, legally, the line should be and indeed is.
It actually doesn't matter since Netflix buys it's content on a flat rate basis anyway. They pay $xm for USA rights, $xm for Canada rights etc etc.
At the moment they are paying $0 for NZ rights, but still selling into NZ without abiding by the laws of NZ. whether you agree with NZ law around censorship or not, it is still the law.
The laws should either be changed (because the internet makes it impossible to enforce the laws), or the censor allowed to enforce the laws in place.
But this middle ground of still enforcing it only for the people who are actually trying to setup a service in NZ (Quickflix, Lightbox, Sky etc etc) , but allowing everyone (Netflix, iTunes, etc ) else a free ride is what is 'unfair'.
You can bet that if Lightbox decided 'screw the censor' and just launched without getting all it's content approved they would be prosecuting them pretty quick.
If you want to look at why some products are cheaper to import direct than to buy in NZ, this is one reason.
Anybody who wants to import DVDs and sell them legitimately not only has to pay GST but ALSO has to pay the censor a hefty fee for classifying the content.
I think the article said it was something like $1500 per assessment?
Not sure if that means per episode (presumably the censor has to watch every single episode of a show, so I would think it is)
If that means Quickflix/Lightbox etc have to pay $1500 for every. single. episode. of TV on their platform, (with 5000 hours on Lightbox, that equates to around $15m in fees, given the average episode length is probably 30 mins or so.) That's a hell of a lot of money for Lightbox to pay, that Netflix totally avoids.
Cross-rating, rating and classification processes and charges in New Zealand
Before a classification label may be issued for a DVD, the Labelling Body will cross-rate, rate, or refer the DVD to the Classification Office. The following fees assume a DVD of 3 ½ hours duration:
Once a DVD title has been rated or classified, anyone can apply for a label. There is a verification charge, and labels cost 7 cents plus GST each.
- The Labelling Body will cross-rate any DVD rated G, PG or M in Australia, or U, PG or 12A in the UK for $27 plus GST. 
- The Labelling Body will rate any DVD title not previously rated in Australia or the UK for $210 plus GST.
- The Labelling Body will refer a DVD to the Classification Office if it has been classified MA15+ or higher in Australia, or 15 or higher in the UK, or if the Labelling Body is of the view that the DVD has content that would be restricted under New Zealand law. The Labelling Body charges $25 plus GST for this referral. The classification fee is $1,124.40 incl. GST.
UK and Australian basic classification charges
Note: The following calculations exclude GST and VAT. Australian dollars and pounds sterling are translated to their New Zealand dollar equivalents as at 11 June 2012. Amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar. Both the UK and Australia require DVDs to be classified and labelled. Unlike New Zealand, neither country has the equivalent of a Labelling Body; and neither country cross-rates from any other jurisdiction. Reflecting New Zealand’s much smaller market, the establishment of the Labelling Body has kept censorship compliance costs in New Zealand significantly lower than equivalent costs in Australia and the UK. Approximately 85% of the New Zealand market is rated, cross-rated and labelled by the Labelling Body. The starting fee for the classification of a DVD in Australia is AUD $550 (NZD $680) which increases according to running time. The UK charges a handling fee of GBP £75 (NZD $143) plus GBP 6 (NZD 11) per minute of running time. (*See comparative table and graph below.)
Procrastination eventually pays off.