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21 August 2014

The pros and cons of Lightbox

Our technology writer has been trialling Spark's new service.

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Craig W.
25 Aug 2014
Question about the legality of downloads etc

I see that you've mentioned getting around Geoblocks, like NetFlix is legal, due to our parallel importing laws and the fact that you are paying for it, but what does that mean for downloading copyright material?
If I was to sign up for newsgroups or torrents (hypothetically of course!), and pay a membership fee, or a fee per download, could those same parallel import laws protect me for that?
There would be some differences obviously, such as the source of the file, but as you have stated, there is no differentiation between physical and digital objects, so it would appear to be a bit of a grey area?

Previous member
26 Aug 2014
No grey area

Not really, what you are describing is copyright infringement as there is no distribution agreement in place at all.

Netflix has an agreement, just not for our region. Buying content from them still results in the content creators getting money. Torrent sites don't send distribution fees to the content creators. This is the real world equivalent of purchasing bootleg DVDs.

Parallel import laws are very clear: the product must be sold legitimately in order for it to be imported legally.

Craig W.
01 Sep 2014
Thanks

I expected it to be something along those lines. I still don't really understand how it can be legal to circumvent geo-blocking under NZ law, and yet still illegal to download content from a source other than the original, but I guess that's why someone else gets paid the big bucks to create and police this sort of legislation. Surely, by getting around the geo-block, you are breaching the terms and conditions of the site you are accessing the material from, and therefore breaking the law in that country or jurisdiction?

Previous member
02 Sep 2014
Explanation

"I still don't really understand how it can be legal to circumvent geo-blocking under NZ law, and yet still illegal to download content from a source other than the original"

Geoblocks say: if you are from New Zealand then you aren't allowed to watch this content. Just like DVD region codes. You still have to pay for the content.

Torrent sites give you access to content from an illegitimate source. No money gets back to the content creator.

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"Surely, by getting around the geo-block, you are breaching the terms and conditions of the site you are accessing the material from, and therefore breaking the law in that country or jurisdiction?"

You are almost certainly breaking the T&C, but that is NOT the same as breaking the law. At most you are breaking contract terms and so the contract can be terminated at any time. But that's about the extent of it.