Streaming TV rift heads to court in New Zealand

Media companies contend that skirting regional restrictions on content violates copyright

Four New Zealand media companies filed legal proceedings Monday to prevent use of a service that lets people in the country view online entertainment content normally blocked there.

Sky Network Television, Television New Zealand, Lightbox New Zealand and MediaWorks TV contend that Global Mode, an application developed by Bypass Network Services for ISPs, allows users to infringe copyright.

The companies have asked for an expedited hearing in Auckland's High Court "to provide certainty on the issue as quickly as possible," according to a statement.

Global Mode uses a network of proxy servers that resolve DNS (Domain Name System) queries in a way that makes it appear a person is in a country where content is authorized to play. It allows people to skirt around geoblocking, or the restriction of playback based on a device's IP address.

Last week, two small ISPs decided to withdraw offering Global Mode after receiving a letter threatening legal action by the media companies' law firm.

But CallPlus, which owns ISPs Slingshot, Orcon and Flip, has said it believes Global Mode is legal and would continue to offer it.

The media companies have argued Global Mode provides access to content that is not licensed for distribution in New Zealand, thereby violating copyright. Global Mode circumvents legitimate "technological protection measures," according to a letter sent to Bypass Network Services on Friday.

Bypass Network Services said on Monday it had not yet sought legal advice but welcomed the possibility of a court ruling on the legal issues involved.

Many of the popular services accessed, such as Hulu and the BBC's iPlayer, have terms of service that prohibit the use of services such as Global Mode and VPNs (virtual private networks). The companies, however, have not yet taken technical steps to try to lock out people using those services.

Copyright experts have said the use of unblocking services is a gray area that hasn't been tested in court. In neighboring Australia, the services are thought to be legal. In New Zealand, the law does not specifically prevent their use, but some parts of copyright law could be used to argue it is illegal.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags copyrightlegalintellectual propertycallplusmediaworksLightboxBypass Network ServicesTV New ZealandSky Television

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?