News that Sky, Mediaworks, TVNZ and Spark are threatening legal action against Internet companies shows the importance of the pending Copyright Act review, according to InternetNZ.
From now on, companies who provide services to access international geo-blocked TV and movie services now face a legal challenge.
InternetNZ Chief Executive Jordan Carter says that the open Internet challenges business models in many industries - including those of local broadcasters who choose to buy and on-sell content available in other places.
"A fundamental feature of the open Internet is that it crosses borders,” he adds. “That's what consumers are now used to. That's how it should be.
"It is ironic that our twenty-one-year-old copyright law guarantees anyone can import content on DVDs.
“Yet now there is a threat of legal action against ISPs who provide digital means to access the same content.”
In a joint statement issued by Sky, Mediaworks, TVNZ and Spark, the four companies fired a serious warning towards providers such as Slingshot and Orcon, threatening legal action if copyright laws are not adhered to.
"We pay considerable amounts of money for content rights, particularly exclusive content rights,” the statement read.
“These rights are being knowingly and illegally impinged which is a significant issue that may ultimately need to be resolved in court in order to provide future clarity for all parties involved.
“This is not about taking action against consumers; this is a business to business issue and is about creating a fair playing field."
But according to Carter, “moves like this won't decrease piracy.”
“New Zealand Internet users are still paying for content accessed via these services, many of them go off-shore to get content that local providers either don't have or don't provide on-demand,” he adds.
"Consumers still have the choice to go with Sky, Spark and others' online services.
"Efforts to undermine competition like this aren't innovation: they are just trying to reduce our choices."
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