Today paying consumers of content lost access to HBO, Hulu, ABC and other streaming services in Australia. These companies who are mostly content producers have introduced geoblocking which prevents paying customers accessing content legally.
In Australia the circumvention of geographic blocking is not illegal. This has been confirmed by the Australian Minister for Telecommunications.
When using a streaming device such as an Apple TV to access HBO from Australia a message appears saying “To Access HBO you must reside within the 50 states of the United States of America. If you reside in this area and are still experiencing difficulties please contact your television provider”.
When trying the same using Hulu the message is “GEORESTRICTION. We’re sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States. If you are inside the United States and believe you received this message in error please contact Hulu’s support team at www.hulu.com/support”.
Now in order to gain access to wide variety of content not available through legal means, Australian consumers either miss out or need to resort to piracy. We believe this is a backward step.
The Stop File Lockers project has been vocal in support of rights holders when it comes to content piracy. However when large content producers and services prevent paying customers accessing content legally they deserve all the piracy they get.