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24 June 2015

Settlement raises plenty of questions

Consumers left in limbo by Global Mode backdown.

On 24 June, Sky, Lightbox (Spark), MediaWorks and TVNZ announced their court case against ISPs offering Global Mode had been settled out of court. From 1 September, Global Mode will no longer be offered to consumers.

Other similar services such as Unblock-Us and UnoTelly are not affected by this.

As part of the settlement, both sets of parties will not be talking about details of the settlement beyond Global Mode ceasing or discuss the topic further. Because of this, we can only speculate on reasons for the back down by Global Mode’s owners.

What we can say is that because the case never made it to court, the New Zealand consumer is still stuck in limbo. Is it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content? An out-of-court settlement means we don’t have a ruling on the matter and we’re back to arguing semantics about digital products, parallel importing and distribution rights.

We do know this. More options are a better thing for consumers and this settlement does little more than strengthen the entertainment oligopoly that already exists in New Zealand.

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