Thursday, July 23, 2015

TV program licencies matter

In spite of decreasing popularity due to the rise of the internet, TV is a still dominant media resource.

Some developed countries have their national or semi-national broadcasting station. Different from private sectors, official broadcasts do not rely on advertisement fee from other companies. So, they gather money from citizens as a licence fee.

However, the licence fee for watching TV is a complicated matter. In Japan, the legal procedure for imposing the fee was vague previously. So, many citizens avoided paying for watching. At the same time, NHK made some scandals regarding fabricating news. These incidents caused a movement of the not-to-pay campaign.

In addition, there are scarce ways to grasp the exact amount of watchers. Especially, it is almost impossible to know how many people are watching TV programs on the internet. Indeed, many overseas people watch BBC without paying the licence fee.

ITProPortal: Over 60 million people watching BBC iPlayer for free outside the UK

Watching TV programs created in a foreign country has some problems. Foreign people are usually not subjected to domestic legislation. It is difficult to tax them for watching official TV programs. On the other hand, it is unfair for taxpayers to compensate for the gain of overseas free-riders. In addition, there are considerable discrepancies between countries about ethical and cultural regulation. Many Japanese animations would be deemed as a child porn in other countries.

My past entry: AKB48 mimicking child porn?

My past entry: Porn movies extinction in EU?

For this reason, many broadcasters prohibit foreign people from watching its programs. They distinguish each watcher's IP address, and shut out the users connecting via a foreign server. This scheme is also adopted in free broadcasting services.

However, this blocking can be easily pierced using VPN server. Many companies rent a server with the low cost so that users can mimic their IP address as if they are connecting from the issued country. After all, it is very difficult to keep them away.

On the other hand, there is a common sense that contents on the internet are free as a principle. This fact makes service providers difficult to sell digital contents on the internet. HBO, a popular cable TV provider is always annoyed by pirated movies.

Entertainment: Game of Thrones piracy hits record high despite HBO's stand-alone service

Taxing an online content is extremely difficult. A careless solution will cause an adverse result. A German media tried to prohibit Google from citing its articles. It led to a rapid reduction of the readers.

My past entry: Taxing news aggregator seems reckless

My past entry: Time lock of buying erotic e-books in Germany

I do not support piracy at all. However, copyright and related regulations seem no more suitable to the current situation. We have to reconsider the balance between the benefit of free access and protection of the creators.

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