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EU Businesses DRM Media Your Rights Online Politics Technology

EU May Become a Single Digital Market of 500 Million People 132

RockDoctor writes: The Guardian is reporting that the EU is becoming increasingly vociferous in its opposition to "geo-blocking" — the practice of making media services available in some areas but not in others: "European consumers want to watch the pay-TV channel of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU." That adds up to a block of nearly 500 million first-world media consumers. They don't necessarily all speak the same language, but English is probably the most commonly understood single language. And the important thing for American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook.
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EU May Become a Single Digital Market of 500 Million People

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  • Blocked (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:13AM (#50184215)

    This post is blocked by GEMA in your region

    • Re: Blocked (Score:5, Informative)

      by geogob ( 569250 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @08:08AM (#50184471)

      For those bot getting the "joke", GEMA is pretty much the German equivallent of the RIAA in the US.

      They are notorious for geoblocking in Germany videos from youtube which contains content under their licensing rights... Even youtube channels from the artists themselves.

      The infamous message "this content is blocked because it contains material owned by GEMA" is a nightmare for youtube users in Germany

      And this is where this joke becomes insightful. Once you open the markets in the EU and ban geoblocking, how do you deal with this type of geoblocking? Will they address geoblocking only in a commercial transaction (what would actually be much worse for GEMA in the business model they drive) or address geoblocking in all its forms?

      • For those bot getting the "joke", GEMA is pretty much the German equivallent of the RIAA in the US.

        They are notorious for geoblocking in Germany videos from youtube which contains content under their licensing rights... Even youtube channels from the artists themselves.

        Actually they are notorious for Google blocking youtube videos claiming GEMA demanded it, even if they didn't.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        My understanding is that because GEMA could not agree terms with Google ALL music that is "protected" by GEMA is blocked on YouTube.

        • by NoZart ( 961808 )

          and not only the protected stuff. there are numerous "GEMA" bans (or preeptive google banning) where the music didn't even originate on the same continent.

          • If it was published by a German publisher - or a publisher operating from a German address - does that bring it under GEMA's authority?

            (I don't know the answer. I raise the point to illustrate the complexity of the problem, and to show what problems the EU is about removing.

      • I suspect the logical response to this would be to make copyright rules a responsibility of the EU Parliament, so that future works can't be licensed in different EU Jurisdictions under different rules; with some convoluted bureaucratic procedure to make sure national-level copyright holders works licensed under the old rules still get paid.

        But the EU stopped doing logical things about the time it adopted the Euro.

        So they'll probably make an unenforceable ruling, and then act really surprised when they can'

  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:26AM (#50184237) Homepage
    Although I'm more or less in favour of this (details around copyright 'compensation' nonsense from the EU to sort out), it does present a problem for state-funded broadcasters such as the BBC.

    I'm a UK TV license payer, therefore I fund the BBC. Someone in France, for example, is not funding the Beeb and without geoblocking would be able to pick up for free all of the programming that I and other UK license payers are making possible. Now there seems a reasonably obvious way round it - introduce subscriptions, but this is more problematic than it seems at first glance. Would still need geoblocking + subscriptions for outside the geoblock, because otherwise the current practice in the UK of not caring where and what I'm streaming to will fall apart (you'd need to verify the subscription or similar - how would my kids do that when it's just me on the license, are we talking about having to name everyone covered by the license payment etc.). Worse, if the revenue from subscriptions starts becoming a significant part of the BBC's income, then it will start to produce more content geared towards those subscriptions and become less 'British'.

    I'm using the BBC as an example I'm familiar with, but there are other state broadcasters in Europe. The BBC model of license to keep it independent of government editorial control is the only funding model of its kind I can think of, but I would imagine the same issues would apply to most of them.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:37AM (#50184251)

      the EU have already stated that the beeb will be exempt to the rules due to the way it is funded

      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        Interesting - thanks. That's bizarre though, because it's one of Europe's major broadcasters. Seems odd to have EU-wide rules that can't sensibly encompass its major producers.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'd prefer that all such state broadcasters (I've experienced Swedish and Finnish since I've lived in both) became pay-per-view with a subset of programming "free", i.e. funded by taxes. I consider most of their content complete crap and don't want to pay for it although I do see some value in sponsoring domestic art production when it would otherwise not get enough funding to get produced at all. However, I consider it unacceptable that the Finnish national broadcasting company buys HBO shows because it do

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        Which actually sucks for license payers because over 450 million won't be paying for BBC content which would reduce the license.

        The BBC sells it's programming via BBC worldwide which looks like some kind of massive fraudulent organisation, the amount they spend to sell the programs doesn't make any sense, go look for yourself if you don't believe me. I can only assume someone is embezzling tens of millions of pounds at the British license payers expense.

        Just privatise it already, people don't understand the

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:42AM (#50184273)

      But geoblocking does not make sense. If you are abroad in, say Germany, you should still be able to log into BBC and watch the programming you have paid for.

    • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:44AM (#50184277) Homepage Journal

      State broadcast means little to nothing. You're paying for it - let other people see it. In return, you get to see all of THEIR stuff. You specifically mention that the BBC is not the only state sponsored broadcast in Europe - you'll get all of their stuff too.

      And, I'll point out that despite all the piracy in the world, America's "entertainment" industries continue to post record profits, again and again.

      In short - you'll lose nothing. If anything, you stand to gain something. The bigger the audience, the more likely you are to find people WILLING to pay for the content.

      The entertainment industries seriously need to change their business models, worldwide. "Entertainement", when done right, makes people WILLING to part with their hard earned money. Sometimes, I see, hear, or watch something that is so good, I actually WANT to give the author a dollar. However, I've never once in my life felt compelled to give some faceless corporation any of my money. Granted, the BBC is somewhat unlike most faceless corporations, but they are still running a scam with their GeoIP blocking.

      Not that it's difficult to get around the blocking. There's not a whole lot that I want to see on the BBC entertainment channels, but when something catches my eye, I manage to grab it.

      • by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:57AM (#50184297)

        State broadcast means little to nothing. You're paying for it - let other people see it.

        THAT.

        From the moment they started all the bullshit with DRM (and I think spending hundreds of millions on this nonsense) I've been thinking "what a nonsesne". You already have people collecting the money, very often by force (yes, people with guns put people in jail for not paying the fee). About 10% of all CRIMINAL prosecutions in the UK are for this bloody fee. It's already all paid. Just make it available!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 26, 2015 @07:23AM (#50184359)

          I think pretty much everyone who pays taxes for a state sponsored broadcaster agrees with this.
          The content is already produced. Limiting its distribution doesn't benefit the people who paid for it it any way.
          Information is a strange beast in that way. Distributing it costs next to nothing. Limiting the distribution takes away a lot of value from a lot of people.
          The argument for copyright is that content wouldn't be produced if it wasn't possible to capitalize on it, but here we have content being produced despite it not being capitalized on.
          When produced with taxpayers money it should go directly into public domain.

          • by Teun ( 17872 )
            Yes and No.

            Let's take a very successful British (BBC) or Danish TV show, they are sold abroad and this money helps finance the next production.
            Making all public or licence funded productions available EU wide or even globally available will cause some damage.
            • by sosume ( 680416 )

              There may be less revenue from selling their own produced shows. But it works both ways, so instead of paying for foreign shows as they do now, they now get those for free. So there is no net loss. Lots of money will probably saved on the sales people, trade shows, beancounters and legal people, which can now be directed to producing TV.

              • That could get tricky.

                See the way ITV currently gets money from Dutch people watching Downtown Abbey is a licensing deal with a Dutch company (NCRV last time I checked), and if the Dutch can simply watch online then a) ITV's British ad rates don't go up, while b) NCRV's Dutch rates go down. Which means they could easily increase their viewership in the Netherlands and lose money anyway.

                They'll probably figure out something soon enough if they have to. Perhaps NCRV and equivalents gets cut out (but then the

              • by jrumney ( 197329 )

                But it works both ways, so instead of paying for foreign shows as they do now, they now get those for free.

                BBC doesn't get them for free. The British public does due to lack of geoblocking.

                Personally I think that programming that is commercially viable on the international market shouldn't be paid for by taxes (or other practically unavoidable licensing fees) anyway. It puts commercial broadcasters at a competitive disadvantage and takes funding away from arts/documentaries and community programming tha

          • The content is already produced. Limiting its distribution doesn't benefit the people who paid for it it any way.
            Information is a strange beast in that way. Distributing it costs next to nothing. Limiting the distribution takes away a lot of value from a lot of people.
            The argument for copyright is that content wouldn't be produced if it wasn't possible to capitalize on it, but here we have content being produced despite it not being capitalized on.

            It's more nuanced than that. The state-funded model is t

          • I agree, it would be much better to just make the content available to everyone and be done with it. There is a but to this as things are organized at the moment. Currently, it would cost the BBC a bomb to distribute the content, via their iPlayer web things, to everyone, even if we are talking the EU and not the world. It would divert funds form producing content to coping with distribution.

            What would make more sense to me is if someone like the ISP would do the distribution - i.e. BBC would

        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          I somewhat agree, but there is a tragedy of the commons element to this. I do think that it makes sense to encourage reciprocation, via things like cross-licensing. By all means make it free to countries that have low incomes and so on.

          I feel similarly about drug patents. I think that governments should start doing end-to-end R&D and keep the patents. They should be licensed for free to any domestic manufacturer, to manufacturers in countries that make similar investments and reciprocate, and for lo

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is not how content owners see things. They demand compensation based on the size of the potential audience. For an English language program that potential is huge, therefor the cost are high. This is why you hardly find any Free-to-Air English language satellite channels in Europe, it would just be to expensive. Those that do exist do not have entertainment content.

        German language Free-to-Air channels, however, are a dime a dozen. Showing lots of american movies and series. They get away wit it because

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Fuck that the moment they change it to a tax I have to pay for it - Currently I dont I dont have a TV!

        If people in Eruope want to watch the bbc then it should be up to the bbc to find a way they can pay their own fucking way. (currently I know they cant), It's called Freedom of choice.

      • State broadcast means little to nothing. You're paying for it - let other people see it. In return, you get to see all of THEIR stuff. You specifically mention that the BBC is not the only state sponsored broadcast in Europe - you'll get all of their stuff too.

        You forgot about one tiny problem:

        Language.

        Someone in the UK can't understand, dunno, Bulgarian, but an average Bulgarian does understand English very well.

        On top of that, and no offense to Bulgarians, whatever their TV produces is nowhere near the quality of BBC shows. Nothing in Europe is that good.

    • by xonen ( 774419 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:51AM (#50184287) Journal

      Valid points - however, most European countries have some form of national TV.

      When i am abroad, i'm often annoyed with the dutch public TV digital online channels not being available, due to whatever IP issue causes it. Which i find quite absurd, since it's available for free within my country.

      I would welcome a situation where i can watch British, German, French, Italian, Belgian and Dutch television stations online. If all countries open op public stations, i see it as win-win for everyone.

      Commercial thinkers should realize i can only watch one TV channel at a time. The BBC will obviously put up the argument that 'everyone speaks English and not everyone speaks French or German, hence their audience is bigger and thus the market is skewed'. And while their may be some truth in that, the British tax-payer will not pay a penny more or less if half Europe watches their shows, since the cost is in creating them, not in distributing.

      Likely, IP issues only play with purchased shows (overseas content, sports, etc). Everything produced by public broadcasters themselves - payed by taxpayers - will only profit from a bigger audience in my view.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > And while their may be some truth in that, the British tax-payer will not pay a penny more or less if half Europe watches their shows, since the cost is in creating them, not in distributing.

        You've missed who is paying for the extra hardware and bandwidth if you're opening up to 'half of europe'.

        Someone has to pay for that.

        • The (mobile) consumer does through his/her connection fees.

          The only thing that changes for (say) BBC is that they chuck out or switch off their Geo-IP management servers at their gateway. Where the data goes to after that isn't their concern. That's the point about IP being an unbiased transmission protocol.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        And while their may be some truth in that, the British tax-payer will not pay a penny more or less if half Europe watches their shows, since the cost is in creating them, not in distributing.

        Well, in IP there is also cost in distributing, esp. when local connectivity (exchanged at local peering point like LINX in London) to users in UK is probably much cheaper than international connectivity to users in rest of Europe.

      • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @08:53AM (#50184599) Homepage Journal

        Not so. CTV and CBC here in Canada pay the BBC for the shows they air from across the pond. I presume the BBC buys content from CBC and CTV as well. I know, for example, that BBC America buys "Orphan Black" from Space here in Canada. Were you to allow foreigners to access CTV's website, they could watch Orphan Black for free instead of their local broadcaster paying for the rights.

        I'm sure the BBC offsets a pretty penny selling Doctor Who around the world.

        Still, I'm not so sure Hollywood would object all that much to being able to sell to a market of half a billion people with a single broadcaster's contract. But what it might do is price the media out of the range where any single broadcaster could afford to pay for it, because they're still constrained by the market revenue of their local nation and not getting paid by the entire half billion worth of people.

        It's all well and good to say "down with geoblocking" until you realize that geoblocking is how the market share is divied up between broadcasters. None of the broadcasters in the world is set up on the basis of serving the globe, not even "giants" like NBC, CBS, ABC, or the BBC.

        • None of the broadcasters in the world is set up on the basis of serving the globe, not even "giants" like NBC, CBS, ABC, or the BBC.

          Yet.

          And the interesting thing is with there being about 4 markets in the world (China - about a billion ; India, potential of a billion ; Europe at a half-billion ; North America, a third of a billion) then the broadcaster that doesn't get into those markets soon is not going to survive against it's global competitors. Particularly the ones that broadcast in common languages

      • Well, to be fair to the BBC, they make a hell of a lot of money from reselling their content to other markets, presumably including the rest of Yurp. It's hard to see them being able to recover that lost revenue short of a license fee increase.
      • Two problems:

        1) There are real IT costs associated with streaming to a half-billion people instead of 60-65 million.

        2) A chunk of the Beeb's budget is selling shows like Dr. Who to European networks. If everyone in Germany can watch Dr. Who on the internet, then Vox's license isn't worth much, and the BBC loses money.

        Which is probably why they specifically exempt the BBC. Other English-language networks will have the same problem, but can probably solve it by some contract renegotiations (ie: NCRV gets to s

      • The BBC will obviously put up the argument that 'everyone speaks English and not everyone speaks French or German, hence their audience is bigger and thus the market is skewed'. And while their may be some truth in that, the British tax-payer will not pay a penny more or less if half Europe watches their shows, since the cost is in creating them, not in distributing.

        If the BBC opened up all their content online and then instead of using geoblocking, used geotargetted ads, so in germany you could still watch it but it had german ads, i think they would come out ahead revenue wise.

        • If the BBC opened up all their content online and then instead of using geoblocking, used geotargetted ads

          There are minor outlets of the BBC that use adverts - they were annoying me in Turkey a couple of weeks ago - but the BBC as a corporation doe not do broadcast advertising. They do have appropriate infrastructure for trailers and internal advertising of next weeks Downton Pigs or Vetbum Abbey, which is probably coordinated with the advertising breaks on their affiliates international broadcasting. But f

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @06:53AM (#50184289) Homepage

      Well - it's a disadvantage - and an advantage. But the primary problem is not really the national broadcasters. It's when you actually want to pay for something to view like Netflix - or buy a DVD/BluRay.

      National broadcasters can select if they want to provide streams of their shows to other viewers or not. Many countries in Europe have the same system as the UK - public funding.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      and you will be able to pick up france german italian etc channels even if you don't pay licence for them

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Back in its beginnings, TV content was "shipped" in radio waves without encryption. Thus it had a "Free rider" problem that was happily solved with a tax (read TV license).

      Now that technology solved that "Free rider" problem (encryption), that is not reason for your(mine) tax anymore.

      The only reason nowadays to have public funding for a TV Channel, is considering it a public good (debatable) and in such case you will have no reason to block it to anyone other than your sworn enemy (if you have).

    • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @07:11AM (#50184325)
      Wouldn't it just be easier to get the British government out of the news and entertainment businesses?
      • by pr0nbot ( 313417 )

        The BBC is not funded or owned by the government.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The BBC is funded by a tax on the UK citizens, enforced by the criminal code. Your assertion is completely wrong.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by ScentCone ( 795499 )

            The BBC is funded by a tax on the UK citizens, enforced by the criminal code. Your assertion is completely wrong.

            Ah, so in Britain the government isn't involved in tax collection and enforcement. They don't do the collecting, they don't penalize people who don't pay, and they don't get involved in picking and choosing who receives those funds, or have any say, whatsoever, over how that money is allocated. That is an interesting system indeed! Who handles all of that, if not the government?

            • The answer is ... its complicated. The BBC is responsible for the collection of the license fee, not the government. There are laws making it illegal to watch live TV without a license but it is enforced by the BBC who prosecute license evaders through the courts. The BBC is a separate entity controlled by the BBC Trust and the Board of Governors and is in no way controlled by or a branch of the government.

              Obviously you could argue about political interference but that is just as true with e.g. banks where

            • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @11:33AM (#50185119) Journal

              Ah, so in Britain the government isn't involved in tax collection and enforcement.

              What's that got to do with the BBC? You have to buy a licese if you wish to receive live broadcasts.

              The BBC gets to collect the fees, which they outsource to Crapita. If crapita find you are doing unlicensed things, and can collect evidence, they can then send that evidence on to the CPS. If you're dumb enough to (a) watch live TV without a license and (b) let the Crapita people in to collect evidence then you'll get prosecuted. If you tell them to eff-off, there's nothing they can do.

              or have any say, whatsoever, over how that money is allocated.

              Nope. The BBC keeps the money (actually, Crapita keep the money, and they pay the BBC a fixed fee), and get to do whatever they like with it. Of course there's a corporate charter etc. The only lever the government have is to change the license fee which essentially controls how much the BBC gets. The BBC, like the NHS is a rather sensitive topic, so this is not something they do lightly.

              TL;DR you are mistaken. The BBC is not allocated funds out of the general budget. The mechanism for collecting of funds is purposefully kept separate from general taxation precisely do the government has little control over the BBC.

              That is an interesting system indeed! Who handles all of that, if not the government?

              Now you know: the money isn't allocated from taxes, so the government doesn't handle it. And yes it is a good system. It's not perfect but it's the best we have. It's freer from government influence than other funding mechanisms and also free from corporate influences, e.g. Sith Murdoch.

              • It's freer from government influence than other funding mechanisms

                What? It can't even work without the direct involvement in the government running the courts that are necessary for the BBC to collect their unavoidable TV tax.

                Here's a way that the government could be even less involved: don't DO that. Let people who want to show programs to a large audience find their own way to fund the production and dissemination of that material. Say, by selling ads or attracting sponsors, etc. Remove the court system and penalties under law for not wanting to fund everything that

                • Here's a way that the government could be even less involved: don't DO that. Let people who want to show programs to a large audience find their own way to fund the production and dissemination of that material.

                  The courts, i.e. the gouvernment still has to enforce copyright in order for that to work. IOW, the government is always involved.

                  Say, by selling ads or attracting sponsors, etc.

                  Now you're under much more direct influence from the advertisers and sponsors. I'd argue strongly that under the current s

                • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                  Nobody is forced to directly pay for it unless they watch it. Perhaps you do not understand the system... You could, theoretically, claim that taxes pay for the courts to enforce this but you could also easily claim the taxes pay for the roads for them to get to work. In other words, stupid is bad - do not be stupid.

                • by jrumney ( 197329 )

                  Here's a way that the government could be even less involved: don't DO that. Let people who want to show programs to a large audience find their own way to fund the production and dissemination of that material. Say, by selling ads or attracting sponsors, etc.

                  And being under heavy influence by advertisers is better than being at arms length from government influence how exactly?

                  • Because when you buy a television and are forced to pay a tax that finances, under penalty of winding up in court, someone else's programming choices ... that's different than buying a television and NOT being subject to that tax. How is this not clear?
      • Governments don't always suck at providing services, you know. The BBC is one of the only major news outlets that does actually try to be unbiased, even if they aren't always perfect at it.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The BBC is independent from the government. In fact the current government doesn't really like the BBC and is trying to wreck it.

        • The BBC is independent from the government.

          Other than the part where it's the government that runs the court system that enforces your having been forced to give the BBC money whether you want to patronize them or not.

      • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @11:40AM (#50185145)

        Ever heard the phrase "Divided by a common language?"

        In British English a member of "the government" is not a Bureaucrat with a public service-style salary, it's the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. Where they use "government" we'd use "Administration" (as in: the Obama Administration).

        So you basically just said that the Right Honorable David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; actually has control over what the BBC does. He does not. No Prime Minister ever has. And in several recent memorable cases (in particular the run-up to the Iraq War) the Beeb took a stronger line against the Prime Minister (and this in British English, agains the government) stance then our non-governmental independent media did.

        Even assuming that you actually meant 'government' in the American sense of a public bureaucracy, it's not really in business. The BBC is pretty much the only broadcaster, and is the only English-language broadcaster, that has 54 African correspondents for 54 African countries. If something interesting happens in Zambia the non-business BBC will immediately have a reasonably intelligent (tho not necessarily pretty) person posting to their website, appearing on their broadcasts, etc. Which is low ratings, and high cost, thus bad business; but tends to produce excellent journalism.

        OTOH, Fox and CNN tend to have a stable of a dozen or so photogenic blondes who get air-dropped to trouble-spots, who compare everything to Iraq or Afghanistan because their entire career consists of spending time with our boys in those countries. It's low-cost, and high-ratings; thus good business. Then they juice the ratings more by adding heavy doses of partisanship. The business side gets even better if they can force some extremely dramatic turn of events that will keep people glued to their screens due to the constant potential for mass death.

        Currently their business plan to do juice ratings is relatively harmless but incredibly fucking annoying ("Go go Donald Trump!"), but in the run-up to that Iraq War...

        • Ever heard the phrase "Divided by a common language?"

          In British English a member of "the government" is not a Bureaucrat with a public service-style salary, it's the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. Where they use "government" we'd use "Administration" (as in: the Obama Administration).

          Actually it means the same in America. Americans are just reallhy of stupid and blame the government for everything even remotely public. You can see this very often for instance with Obama being blamed for the actions of republican Governors.

          • Let me guess, that's a vague, hand-waving reference to the states that are disinclined to take on the new medicare mandates? Yeah, maybe they weren't charmed by the bald-faced lies that Obama told about that piece of legislation and his counter-constitutional, politically-driven, capricious execution of it? I know, how could anyone not like it, right? After all, if we want to keep our doctors and our previous insurance, we can, period. And our rates are going to go down an average of $2500 per family, right
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The BBC never asks me for proof of citizenship when I'm in the UK, so there's already something wrong about this argument. Other infrastructure, e.g. roads, is also state-funded but available to citizens and non-citizens alike. If something is a public service it should be available to everybody, if it's not it should require proof of membership instead of pretending to be public.

    • by Chrisje ( 471362 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @07:35AM (#50184375)

      Well, mate, if you'd then bother to learn someone else's language for a change, you could enjoy the Dutch NPO, the French France Televisions SA, the German ARD, Sveriges Television and many other public broadcasters.

      Now I would not mind at all if you watched programmes on the Dutch NPO which I payed for with my NL TV License fees. It's just that you can't. Because you're uni-lingual. The fact that the average German, French, Dutchman and Scandinavian can watch your shows because we hablo Ingles and possibly few other languages doesn't change that fact.

      So instead of bickering about me enjoying the odd re-run of Allo Allo and nature shows narrated by Sir Attenborough, I suggest you go back to school.

      Now you might say that I respond harshly to your comments, but please remember that the people in the smaller countries and smaller language zones bend over backwards to accommodate the English speaking world. One fringe benefit of me watching your BBC would be that you can actually get a fish and chips in Amsterdam, and we'll happily converse with you about the weather in Wales while we serve it to you from the English menu you just read.

      So is it worth your TV license fee to not have to feel like a hapless idiot when you travel the mainland?

      • Curiously, being a uni-lingual Brit, many years ago I was toying with the idea of rectifying this and learning some other European language, and the one I briefly considered was Dutch. In the end I decided that if I was to learn another language it would have to be another major one, like French, German or even (if going world-wide) Mandarin! Not, unfortunately, Dutch! (I still intend to follow-up on this, probably French).

        As to the BBC, it should be recognised that it does sell programs abroad, and the
      • Learn Dutch? Why? So I can watch more television? Is that really the argument you just made? WTF?

        There are only 17 million Dutch speakers in the world and they all live in one tiny country. The payoff just isn't there. Moreover, having one language for everyone has tons of benefits, chief among them being fewer wars. The story of the Tower of Babel cursing humanity with thousands of mutually incomprehensible languages is a relevant myth.

        I used to be impressed by people who spoke lots of languages u

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So what's the problem?

      You seem to find unsure that you pay for BBC's contents that others will get for free... so what? It costs basically the same broadcasting only to UK or whole EU so you are not going to pay neither more nor less for them but still you have a saying on the contents themselves as you are the one paying for them. Forget about the perceived unfairness an you'll see it's a win-win proposition.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      introduce subscriptions, but this is more problematic than it seems at first glance. Would still need geoblocking + subscriptions for outside the geoblock, because otherwise the current practice in the UK of not caring where and what I'm streaming to will fall apart

      You just talked about introducing subscriptions. So yeah, you would ditch the practice of "not caring where and what they are streaming to". The TV licence is an anachronism that should have been scrapped DECADES ago. It hangs on because enou

      • Everyone in the UK doesn't have to pay for it. You only need to pay (or be covered) if you watch or record programmes as they're being shown on TV or live on an online TV service.

        I've got a friend who doesn't have a TV, doesn't stream things live via the computer, and doesn't have to pay for a license.
        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          In practice, your friend is extremely rare. Virtually everyone wants to stream some live video, whether on TV or thru the internet, and it's utterly unfair that they should have to pay for the Biased Bullshit Corporation in order to do so. My point stands.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            That is why in Finland, we abolished the license. It cost more to check that license was payed than it cost to eliminate this.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Sunday July 26, 2015 @10:12AM (#50184817) Homepage

        Even if you don't watch the BBC, it serves a very important purpose that is worth funding with tax money. It keeps the commercial broadcasters in line. A channel like Fox News would never work in the UK, it would just look too ridiculous next to the rather dry and serious BBC.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Someone in France who doesn't watch the BBC doesn't effect you. Someone in France watching the BBC without paying doesn't effect you. You still get to watch the BBC in either case. You still have to pay your license fee in either case. The only problem here, is you.
    • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @08:32AM (#50184521)
      I'm an American, and I would happily pay for a subscription service to the various BBC channels. As it sits now, the only was people like myself have access to this content is via torrents / pirate streams. The BBC shows are the only content that even registers on my conscious, and "BBC America" just doesn't cut it. I too wouldn't ever want the programming to change from it's Britishness...in fact, that's one of the major reasons I enjoy it is to broaden my cultural knowledge. The amount of income from the potential subscriptions is probably in the millions, and that's just in the USA.

      I'm already enjoying much of the content, if I could pay for it I would. The same goes for CBC in Canada, CH4, Space, etc.
      • by Optic7 ( 688717 )

        Hear, hear. I'm in the same boat as you. For what it's worth, a couple of years ago there was word that the BBC was considering offering their iPlayer (online live programming and catch-up service) to other countries (the US being one of them) for a subscription fee. I don't know if that idea died though, as I haven't heard anything about it in a while.

    • by sosume ( 680416 )

      I'm really not interested in other European state broadcasts. They all bring the same boring politically correct leftish point of view. It's sponsorship of a particular media channel while all the other commercial channels have to fight for every penny. Exactly the kind of government interference for which countries such as Russia and Iran are blamed.

      Maybe it's time to let go of state run channels like the BBC as a relic of the past and let the market decide what viewers want to see. However, barring geolic

      • by grahammm ( 9083 )

        However, barring geolicensing creates a new set of problems by itself. It would mean that licensing costs for movies, tv series and sports events would skyrocket as the potential target audience is multiplied, while the stations will more or less keep the same number of viewers.

        Which would not apply to a subscription channel (such as Canal+ or the various Sky packages) as, irrespective of the location of the viewer, the maximum size of the target audience is known - the number who subscribe to (a package containing) that channel. For pay-per-view, the number of viewers is even more accurately known.

    • I thought that everybody in the UK with a TV set is already paying for the BBC by law (i.e. no choice). If this doesn't change then the BBC will keep producing good independent programming.

      The question now is, if everything will be as before for you, why do you care if others get it for free? Is this some "justice" thing?
    • I am in China and I would pay for a BBC subscription at the current UK license price, if such a thing was available. Problem is, BBC licenses content on a national basis and also makes a fortune selling national broadcast rights to its programs, so its pretty unlikely to ever happen.
    • by drolli ( 522659 )

      Well, and you would be able to receive the french, german etc state/taxpayer/publically funded programs.

      The obvious way is to reduce the "entertainment" part of the public programs everywhere.

    • And why is this a problem? BBC programmes are made for a British audience; that's why Brits pay for them. They have British news, British weather, British humour, and take place in dismal British towns. Will your licence fees go up if other people watch too? Will it lower your quality of life? Will this make a shit of difference to the BBC?
      Does it bother you or did you even know that in Belgium, to name but one country, they have been watching the Beeb for free for decades? Does it bother you that Spanish,

  • From TFA:

    By taking on six big Hollywood names, the commission risks raising hackles in Washington, where there is already suspicion about EU trade regulation.

    I'm pretty sure that Hollywood, through it's wholly-owned subsidiary the United States Congress, will soon put pressure on the EU to withdraw or water down the complaint. Slap on the wrist for the studios and then it's back to business as usual.

    • In America, we extend and enforce copyrights because it increases tax revenue. Then we demand campaign contributions from Hollywood to continue preserving copyrights. It's win-win, if you're a member of Congress.

  • This worries me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Smashing Geo-blocking, great stuff,but there tends to be some sort of "regulatory framework" or other attempt to synchronize laws across the block. When you've got Germany censoring anything with blood (see: Wii-U online store) and the UK's hair trigger legislative response to anything remotely pornographic (see: 1984) along with every other nations particular scruples and mores the whole thing has the potential to turn into a horrible 11pm watershed restricted reduced-choice mess.

  • Why not just add usernames and passwords? No geoblocking necessary.
  • And the important thing for American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook.

    While I agree that there are differences, the EU still eats up American programming like crazy. So I'm not sure how much it matters, and it seems over time our programming is converging to be more similar, that is, what works in the US or the EU is tried in the other.

  • We all know how this will end. It starts with noble intentions, and fancy presentations with large numbers like "500 million first world citizens" blah blah blah.

    Then Germany and UK will claim Greece and Spain are free loading on the great programming created by their virtuous tax payers and demand that they too pay the wireless receiver license fees. Greek population will be limited to half an hour of TV per day and people will line up with their thumb drives in front of TV stations to download their dai

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Sunday July 26, 2015 @08:08AM (#50184469)

    American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook.
    What is American thought, taiste and outlook.
    Americans are a rather diverse group of people. Ranging from extreamly liberal to hard conservative and with a lot of points in between.
    Sure we have some cultural norms, like every other country. But judging our culture from our media doesn't give a full picture.
    Based off of media.
    1 out of every 4 people is an aspiring actor.
    80% of the population lives in California
    15% lives in New York City, no one lives upstate.
    4% lives in Illinois .
    1% elsewhere
    (There is a wide range of cultural diversity across each state, most of it isn't covered my the media)
    Nearly everyone is self centered/as some odd quark.

    What is called American culture is just Hollywood culture, that isn't representative of the full United States.

    Heck I live next to a Mennonite community in the middle of nowhere, we have High speed internet, decent cell coverage... And a diversity of pleasant friendly people and jerks who have no regulard for others. And like real life often they are one and the same based on the situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "And the important thing for American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook."

    You're right. There is no other culture and society that is so hostile and juvenile, that produces so many ignorant, indoctrinated, and aggressive young people, as the American culture and society. This has a huge effect on the tastes and preferences for entertainment, and the European market is certainly a lot more refined than the American.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    "And the important thing for American media companies to remember is that they're not American in thought, taste or outlook."

    Ehhh, that's not that important to remember. You all will buy the most ridiculous, lowest-denominator American shows we make already.
  • It's this before or after the EU collapses from its inherent fiscal contradictions?

    • It's this before or after the EU collapses from its inherent fiscal contradictions?

      Mu, that is not going to happen, and is not the case.

    • The EU is collapsing because they are keeping the Euro above fair market value, in order to protect the investments of the rich. Once the rich have had sufficient time to move their investments the Euro will drop and the economy will recover.
    • the banking cartel bailed out the EU before using US Federal Reserve

      • Well the US bailed out the US by just printing shit-tons of money, and nobody seemed to care.

        So maybe the economic laws of gravity have truly been suspended. If you have debt that the political class feels you shouldn't (say, hypothetically, you buy a $500,000 home on an income of $24k/year), they just strike it out with a pen and let the taxpayers pay for it. But somehow when they WANT you to carry that debt (say, you're Greece and need to be "punished" for being "lazy") it's sacrosanct and cannot be pai

  • ...who now potentially have 500 million people to extort TV tax out of.

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