Friday, May 8, 2015

The Federal Liberals have excluded themselves from consideration in future elections

Last evening I wrote the following to David McGuinty, my MP in Ottawa South.

I am disappointed at the decision you and other Liberals made on C-51.  While I have voted for you multiple times in the past, I am now put in a position of no longer being able to do so.
While the Harper Conservatives promote the idea that the next election will be between them and the Liberals, the Liberals stand too close on the most important issues for that to hold any truth.  
If we had electoral reform it wouldn't matter as much, but given we don't I will need to spend the next election campaigning to ensure those who don't want to split the vote must keep away from Liberals.
It won't be anything against you personally. The "lawful access" aspects of C-51 are so bad I simply can't vote for anyone who voted for it.

For anyone who does not know me, I should put this letter in context.  I am not a participant in armchair politics, where I sit there at home or with close friends complaining about the world. I get involved.   I first met with David McGuinty before was first elected to federal politics, have had several meetings (on Parliament Hill and in his constituency office), and have voted for him in several federal elections since.  I also met with Justin Trudeau before he became leader of the federal Liberals.

Federally I have been a member of, and voted in the leadership races for, the Progressive Conservative Party and the Green Party of Canada.   I have voted for David McGuinty of the Liberals a few times, and I have made financial contributions to the constituency offices of a few NDP MPs and candidates.  While I don't believe in so-called "strategic voting" to circumvent the failings of First Past the Post (I believe in electoral modernization), I do avoid blind partisanship and will be strategic in my support (or opposition) to candidates and parties for what I consider to be the greater long-term good.

While C-51 has many parts, the most controversial are the parts that should be lumped together with any other so-called "lawful access" proposal.  This is the irrational and emotionally driven policy that suggests the world is extremely scary, except for those few who choose to become part of police and intelligence forces which have none of the faults of the mortals in the rest of the scary world.  This leads to suggestions that the world, including the general population, should be monitored and scrutinized in great detail -- essentially a very Orwellian world where privacy and individuality can't exist.  This mass surveillance is carried out by police and intelligence agencies which, not being made up of humans, can be blindly trusted with these surveillance and database mining powers with minimal or no monitoring or scrutinizing.

While people can rant and rave until their faces turn red all they want about the need for such things to allegedly "protect" themselves from this scary world, that is all it is: emotionally driven ranting which doesn't pass the most basic scrutinizing by a calm rational person.  Many calm rational people have explained what is wrong with this policy and any proposals to implement it for many generations, so I don't need to repeat at this time my support of those rational thinkers.

While some political parties will try to distract us with campaign slogans and empty rhetoric, I believe the decisions around C-51 are at a defining level for what it means to be a Canadian, and should form the basis of our choices in the upcoming federal election.

The Harper Conservatives continuously promote the idea that the next election will be some sort of horse race between them and the Justin Liberals.  I believe this is self-serving nonsense on the part of Harper.  With C-51 the Liberal caucus stood so close to Harper that it was hard to differentiate them from any other powerless Harper Conservative back-bencher.  It is to the benefit of Harper if the official "opposition" agrees with them on the most substantial issues, and they can then carry out public theatre on the less important policies.  While Harper's first choice is obviously that people vote for his Conservative party, his second choice is that people vote for the Liberal party.

While there are obviously differences between these parties, those differences are not any greater than what existed between the Progressive Conservative and Reform party before they went through their multi-year dance towards merger (or annexation as those of us who supported the progressive arm of the Progressive Conservatives felt).  Maybe we can call this the multi-decade dance of the Canadian Reform Alliance Liberal Party (CRALP rather than CRAP?)

While 2000 was the last year the federal Progressive Conservative party ran candidates, 2015 might be the last year the federal Liberal party runs candidates.  If their 34 seats are reduced below the 12 seats for official party status, I hope the party will decide to let their candidates move to more appropriate parties and not stand in the way of a more honest choices in Canadian federal politics.  I can think of a few Liberal candidates that clearly belong in other parties, including moving to the Conservative, Green and NDP caucus (I don't think either the Bloc or Forces et Démocratie have much of a future, and are more like the Liberals and splintering off into oblivion).

With Alberta returning a Majority NDP government, we again have proof that change is possible in Canada.  If you are like I am that lives in one of those 34 ridings that returned a Liberal last election, and possibly for many decades before, it is time to recognize that it is time for a change and that the Liberal brand can't offer that change.   I'm not suggesting what alternative people vote for, including those who actually support the Harper Conservatives, but suggesting that the Liberals aren't a useful alternative.

I hope that this will end once and for all the "Anyone But ..." campaigns federally, or talk of electoral cooperation between other parties and the Liberals.  Voting Liberal can not be strategic for someone who actually believes "Anyone But Conservative".   I recognize this is not the case in provincial politics, given the "Anyone But NDP" in BC means voting for the "free enterprise coalition" between the Liberals and Conservatives (which confusingly uses the Liberal brand name, rather than Progressive Conservative or some other more clear branding).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Where does "Television" fit on the "Information Superhighway"?

Policy makers during much of the 1990's liked to use the phrase "Information Superhighway", trying to make an analogy between transportation technology and communications technology. With all the recent talk about the future of Canadian television, I started thinking about analogies between transportation and our video distribution systems.

Walking could be compared to over the air terrestrial transmission, which can't reach very far and can be thought of as the beginning of our transportation and video distribution journey.

Riding animals was our next step for transportation, which in my mind is analogous to the creation of Cable, Satellite, and related "Broadcast Distribution Undertakings" (BDU).  We had some choice over what animal to ride, and we could get a bit further, but we were still moving slowly.

Riding carts pulled by animals might be seen as the next step for transportation, analogous to BDUs going digital with BDU technology dependent set-top boxes.  We may not be sitting directly on the animal any more, which gives some advantages, but we were still powered by the animals and all the limitations and costs that came with them.

One of the many steps for transportation which shared roads was the electric car, which might be analogous to the legitimate over-the-top (OTT) video distribution systems like Netflix and YouTube (I wrote elsewhere in this blog why I don't consider Shomi, CraveTV or FibeTV to be legitimate). Like the 1890s where there was an attempt to ban electric cars because they scared the horses, there is an attempt by the BDUs, the companies they own, and their allies, to ban or regulate/tax out of existence the legitimate OTT services.

While there was a ban on electric cars, transportation technology still advanced to the present where we have automobiles, trucks, buses and a variety of other vehicles, powered by a variety of means, all using common road infrastructure.  While people still walk, and still ride horses, these are not considered viable options for longer distances except in very rare circumstances.

There are potentials with video distribution as well, with OTT technologies finally properly enabling the ability of neutral video distribution services to harness the much faster advancements in telecommunication technology. We can see a future where there is an open marketplace for creators and audiences to connect, if only we are all able to break free of all the arbitrary barriers put on these transactions by the legacy BDUs.

So - where do we go from here?  While some bemoan the lack of the flying cars that science fiction promised we would have by the early 2000's, I think we have legitimate reason to complain far more loudly at how far back we seem to be in video distribution technology.  Will we allow the modern day equivalents of horseshoe and whip makers, and others that feel tied to outmoded technologies, to delay the inevitable advancement in video distribution technology?

I hold it as a matter of pride that I am not a subscriber to a BDU, and that I am able to practice what I believe in this area of policy.  Government manipulations of the marketplace to protect outmoded companies from free market competition denies such choice in other areas.

Ontario Government intervention in Over the Top video policy discussions

I sent the following to my MP and Ontario MPP, after reading a few articles on Michael Geist's blog about Ontario’s Campaign for a Netflix Tax. For me this isn't about price, as I believe I get good value for money from Netflix and wouldn't mind paying more. For me this is a question of fairness, with the Ontario government having naive, counterproductive, and outrageously backwards ideas of what constitutes fairness in this area of policy.

I recommend other people in Ontario write to their MPPs and MPs on this issue.

To: John Fraser (MPP) and David McGuinty (MP),

I am a constituent of Ottawa South, sending this to both my MPP and my MP as this area of policy has considerable Federal-Provincial overlap.  Please forward to the relevant ministers and government departments as appropriate.  This should include the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and his Deputy Minister.  The Deputy Minister has already made some of his views on this area of policy known.

The growth of modern communications technologies such as those using the Internet Protocol includes the growth of what is often called "Over The Top" (OTT) video services.  These are services which make use of existing telecommunications infrastructure and standards, and run "over the top" of them such that they finally become neutral to the underlying communications technology.  OTT services are able to be delivered to us wired and wirelessly, over copper and fiber, and will be neutral to any other telecommunications technology we will dream up in the future.

With this technological advancement comes appropriate calls for regulation of these services.  Unfortunately the contribution to this debate by the Ontario government has thus far been naive and counterproductive.

While there are a wide variety of  options in this marketplace, I tend to group them into two classes:  true OTT services which are neutral to both communications service provider and technology,, and services which tie the ability to purchase the OTT service to a specific brand or subsets of brands of communications services.

The first group of legitimate OTT services include Netflix, YouTube, and some of the websites of Canadian broadcasters which allow streaming of content over the full range of Internet access service offerings in Canada.

The second group of services, which I believe should be declared illegal under Section 77 of Canada's Competition Act, related provisions under Canada's Telecommunications Act, and likely the Copyright Act (some copyright exceptions that legalized BDUs don't apply to OTT), include Shomi (Rogers, Shaw), CraveTV (Bell), and Fibe TV (Bell).

The harm of allowing this tied selling between content delivery services and specific brands of communications services cannot be underestimated.  The best way to protect the interests of Canadian creators and their audiences is to enable and protect an open marketplace that minimizes commercial barriers between these two groups.  Canadians who wish to access and pay for content made by fellow Canadians should not have intermediaries blocking their transactions.  One of the greatest advancements in communications technology for the benefit of these groups has been the growth of the Internet and neutral communications technologies.

The greatest threat to creators and their audiences is attempts by legacy communications technology providers to block or otherwise delay this distribution technology neutrality.  Government should take special care with proposals from people alleging to represent creators who suggest the welfare of creative sectors are tied to specific distribution brands, as evidence suggests they are under a form of Stockholm syndrome.  These individuals are not putting forward the interests of creators, but the interests of the intermediaries which represent their greatest threat.  Reading the Ontario government submission to the CRTC's "Let's Talk TV" consultation suggests it was authored by or on behalf of people with this harmful point of view.

I believe the primary objective of OTT service regulation should be to further foster and protect content distribution neutrality.  As with other policy goals there are a wide variety of policy levers that can be harnessed.

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais has recently announced decisions  that suggest that agency will be appropriately targeting non-neutral OTT services like Shomi and CraveTV with additional regulatory obligations than what will be required of neutral OTT services (CRTC 2015-86).  While Steven Davidson, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, called for the reverse, I hope that the Ontario government will reverse its regulatory direction and help promote a healthy modern video content sector.

A small sampling of proposals:

* The companies that own the non-neutral OTT services have been the beneficiaries of many decades or longer of grants, tax breaks, government granted monopolies, and in some cases public infrastructure handouts.  One small way to help level the playing field is to provide directed content production grants to new entrants, encouraging original content by neutral OTT services to be produced in Ontario and Canada. These grants should not be available to non-neutral OTT services, their owners, or companies owned by their owners.

* Any existing government grants and programs which support content creation, whether audio/visual, audio, multimedia, text or otherwise, should be conditioned on the outputs being made available to citizens in a distribution neutral way.  Content which would be exclusively licensed to specific distribution mechanisms, including OTA, BDU (Cable/Satellite), or non-neutral OTT services would not qualify for these programs.

* Any proposals or promotions of a "Netflix tax", "YouTube Tax" or similar counterproductive proposals should be clearly revoked both publicly and in any behind-the-scenes lobbying.  Anyone who is honestly looking for a level playing field between neutral OTT and non-neutral OTT services should recognize that it is the non-neutral OTT services which have had decades of unfair government granted advantage which should be reversed.  Far from a "tax" on neutral services, there should be additional government grants for neutral services.  I don't  propose a tax on non-neutral services as I believe the CRTC and the Competition Bureau should declare these services unlawful and force them to become neutral services or shut down.

* While traditional CanCon is not a provincial responsibility, I believe there is a place for provincial involvement if CanCon rules are finally modernized and adjusted for the current content distribution reality.  The strength of CanCon rules should reflect the level of intermediary editorial control.   Services where Canadians are free to choose what they access from a large catalog with minimal intermediary interference should have a minimum of regulation, while services that have greater intermediary editorial control should have stronger regulation.  I don't believe CanCon should apply to Netflix or YouTube, but strongly believe this regulation applies to traditional OTA and BDU broadcasting.  I believe CanCon should also apply to a growing class of physical retailers like Walmart which through display and stocking choices have effective editorial control.

Thank you, and I look forward to a reply.  I apologize for the length of the letter, but this is an area of policy that is too complex for soundbites.  The health of the neutral network sector is of great importance to me as both a consumer and as someone who works in the Internet sector.  This is part of a larger area of policy I watch closely, and is one that greatly influences my voting and related political choices.

Russell McOrmond
305 Southcrest Private,
Ottawa, ON
K1V 2B7

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tough on criminals and terrorists, but soft of crime and terrorism

Out of interest I subscribe to the email mailing lists of all 4 Canadian parties with members in the house of Commons (I have no interest in the Quebec-only parties).  While there is nothing unexpected in the mailings from the Greens, Liberals and NDP, I find the messaging from the Harper Conservatives to be surprising.  In their choice of parliamentary activity to highlight, and the language they use, they come off as excessively emotional, immature and naive.

I could quote specific examples from mailings, legislation and media, but I suspect we have all seen it.

There seems to be no recognition that there is a difference between being tough on crime and terrorism is very different than being tough on criminals and terrorists.  There seems to be a simplistic focus on punishment rather than looking into the reasons why people commit acts which are put under these labels.  There also seems to be an ever increasing list of activities which are being put under these labels, with more and more otherwise law abiding citizens fearing that their legitimate political activities might be captured by these labels.

Canadian society, like any other, is complex and the solutions to complex problems within our society will themselves be complex.  This is not what we are seeing from the Harper Government.

There seems to be no recognition that police officers are human beings.  Within the ranks of Canadian society there are a small percentage which will carry out activities which fall under the label of illegal, criminal or worse.  Contrary to the language used and policies promoted by the Harper Conservatives, the same is true of the Canadians who are employed by the various types of police, security and military agencies.  While there might be more scrutiny of the employees of these agencies than for most other jobs, there is also more exposure to a wide variety of scenarios that would entice them to harmful activities (bribery, increased power which corrupts, often seeing and having to engage with the worst of society, etc).

With the subjective language used around terrorism (which sometimes seems like we are headed towards "thought crime"), more and more power is being granted to police and security agencies that can be abused to harm otherwise law abiding Canadians.

The reality is that for the same reason why we need police forces to protect society from that minority which would disrupt it, we need to restrict the power of the police and must police the police to protect society from that minority which would disrupt us all.  The Harper Government has a blind trust of police forces and security services, naively believing that giving these agencies access to more information about Canadians without court or other oversight is not itself a harm to Canadians.  This puts information of ordinary law abiding Canadians in the hands of individuals within these agencies that can and will abuse this information.

The naive and harmful policy is the same whether we are talking about so-called "lawful access", so-called anti-terrorism laws, or so called "tough on crime" bills.

I find it both sad and ironic that the same Harper Government which cancelled the long form census (IMO incorrectly) claiming that there were privacy concerns has been ignoring the legitimate privacy concerns of Canadians when it comes to information collected by government agencies which are far more likely to abuse this information.

Terrorism is the use or threat of violence for political aims.  The purpose is to disrupt society towards those political aims.   It is hard for me not to feel like the Harper Government is disrupting Canadian society by ignoring legitimate privacy interests, granting inadequately policed powers to police and security agencies, and through the politics of fear making people feel less safe.   While the violence is not their own, it appears to me that the Harper Government is using the violence and threats of violence of others for their own political aims.   While I believe governments must protect their citizens from terrorism, I feel that what we have been seeing from the Harper Government is counter productive.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Samsung, the Harper Government, and Technology Property Rights

I have found the media attention around the recognition that manufacturers like Samsung can spy on technology owners to be interesting. After decades of misunderstanding, ignoring, misdirecting or actively lobbying against owners on this issue, the media is finally reporting one of many examples of the issue.

While some are starting to discuss complex and expensive regulation to manage some of the worst symptoms of this problem, I still believe that fully recognizing and legally protecting technology property rights is the most effective solution. Unfortunately the Harper Government has thus far been opposed to property rights, so it might be an uphill battle to solve the problem in Canada.

Fundamentally the problem is that technology is obeying the instructions of a third party, rather than those of the owner. These instructions exist in the form of software, so it needs to be the owner and not a third party who chooses what software is executed on any hardware they own.

Most technology owners are not software authors, so it is not enough to protect the rights of owners to author their own software. Owners must have the right to choose software authors they trust, and be able to hire this trusted software vendor to replace the software running on their hardware. Some owners may trust the hardware vendor, and will leave the technology the same way it came. This should be their choice, not something imposed on them by the government.

We can only effectively protect our rights as long as third parties are not allowed to condition the supply of a product or service on us waiving our property rights, something that was recognized and included in our federal privacy legislation as it relates to our privacy rights.

That is 3 conditions required to protect the most basic of property rights for technology owners

  1. That owners have the right to author software to control devices which they own
  2. That owners have the right to make their own choices of software authored by others
  3. That the provision of a product or service cannot be condition on an owner waiving either of the above two rights.
For the hundreds of Canadians who already signed it, these conditions will sound familiar from the Petition to protect Information Technology Property Rights. That petition was created during the process leading up to the passage of a copyright bill, with statutory monopolies like copyright often being abused to justify direct and contributory infringements of our technology property rights.
  1. By far the largest barrier to owners authoring their own software come in the form of statutory monopolies on interfaces, including interface copyright and software patents. While there is a minority who believe that all statutory monopolies are somehow good, proper economic analysis has recognized that the harm to the economy and rights of citizens of these types of statutory monopolies greatly outweigh the alleged (but never demonstrated) benefits. Some Governments have specifically excluded interfaces from copyright protection, such as within the European Union (Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs)
  2. The right of technology owners to choose software written by the authors of their own choosing is all too often denied by device manufacturers who apply locks on devices which disable owners from making that choice. This is coupled with laws, such as the technological protection measures aspect of the Harper Government's so-called "balanced" copyright bill C-11 which many believe protects these anti-owner locks. The law should be modernized to clarify that not only are these non-owner locks not legally protected under any legislation (including, but not limited to copyright), but that they are clearly prohibited.
  3. The Harper Government's C-11 is also presumed to legally protect techniques such as encrypted media where copyrighted content is encrypted, and keys are only provided to providers of hardware and software which have anti-owner locks. This is a clear example of conditioning the ability to pay for copyrighted works on technology owners waiving their property rights, a scheme that should be clearly legally prohibited.

(Also published on the Digital Copyright Canada blog)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Broken Broadcaster streaming websites

If you haven't tried to use them, you might wonder why the websites that Canadian broadcasters (or most often, the BDUs that own them) offer isn't a substitute for the subscription services I've been asking for.  You might ask why I would be willing to pay the BBC to watch Doctor Who when I could watch it for "free" by going to  The problem is these BDU/Broadcaster provided streaming websites are so poorly implemented that even if they were commercial free I would still prefer to pay for a working subscription service.

I have become used to well designed content distribution services like Netflix and YouTube which work well on all the devices that I own.  I prefer to watch television on my television, which means my Samsung Smart TV, BoxeeBox or Chromecasts.  I sometimes like to watch mobile with my ASUS Transformer tablet (Android), my Nexus 4 smartphone, or one of the variety of Chromebooks in our family.  The place I least like to watch television is on my desktop computer, although both Netflix and YouTube work perfectly fine on my desktop computers running Ubuntu Linux.

You also don't need to be highly technical to watch Netflix or YouTube on a television, while the contortions you have to do to watch television via legacy websites is something I'll never be able to train the rest of my family to do.

To contrast with the easy to use Netflix or YouTube services, during the recent Doctor Who season I tested on all my devices, and have only been able to view on my desktop computer.  Bell even provided an application in the Android App Store, and yet I gave up trying to watch on my Android phone or tablet given how painfully it is constantly pausing to catch up with the video.  Bell can try to blame my non-Bell Internet connection, but given I see the problem with their service and not with Netflix or YouTube it is clear the problem is with them.

This month I watched Broadchurch season 1 via Netflix, and when looking up Broadchurch on Wikipedia found that Season 2 is being shown by Showcase starting this month. I watched the first episode this afternoon.

While the Shaw provided streaming service for Showcase is better than the Bell provided streaming service for Space, I would still prefer to pay to subscribe to a properly designed service.

The Showcase website doesn't work on mobile devices as they seem to still be dependent on Adobe Flash which even Adobe themselves recognize is inappropriate for a streaming service and no longer provide for mobile or other such devices.  While Shaw Communications has some apps in the Android app store , non seem to be for accessing content on their streaming service.

I tried viewing on my Samsung Smart TV, only to have the video stop with error notices about the browser running out of memory. I only seem to be able to watch a couple commercials and a few minutes of an episode.

The website "worked" on the BoxeeBox, Chromebook and my Ubuntu Desktop, but it is painful to watch.   The video quality is low, and you can see video encryption artifacts nearly all the time. Sometimes the video would pause for a moment, but nowhere near as bad as the Bell streaming service on their Android app.

The most distracting aspect is how the commercials have been poorly implemented.  The video would pass the moment where you can tell the commercial was intended to be inserted, and then start the next scene.  You would get a few seconds into the dialog and the screen resolution would change and over a (sometimes frozen, sometimes video continuing) screen you would hear the commercial, and then finally the video from the commercial would start.  The commercial would play, and then there would either be a few more seconds of the scene from the TV episode, a blank screen, or possibly the little "loading" circle spinning in the middle of the screen.  Eventually a second commercial would manage to get loaded, and you just cross your fingers hoping you didn't loose too much of the dialog from the first scene after what should have been the commercial break.

This reminded me of the RogersOnDemand online service from years back, which also implemented commercials so poorly it made the service not worth using.

I might try to watch this season of Broadchurch on the Shaw provided service.  I got hooked on the show on Netflix, and while I would prefer to pay to access via a properly implemented streaming service, the second season isn't available that way yet.  While I understand why other people might take the third option (unauthorized download site), I will stick with putting up with a crap website or not bothering to watch at all.

When I watch television or movies, I want to get into what I am watching and not be constantly having to do technical contortions or be reminded about the poor technology platform.  This is something I've never seen done correctly by any of the Canadian broadcasters (or now the BDUs that own them).

Lets see if I make it to the end of the season before I give up and wait for the season to be released on Netflix.  I waited to watch Season 1 when it was finally made available on Netflix in December 2014, and maybe I will enjoy the series more if I wait until Season 2 is finally licensed for Netflix -- maybe December 2016?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Evidence suggests broadcasters like the BBC don't want our money

Some copyright holders and their lobbyists claim the reason people infringe Copyright is because they don't want to pay, and that copyright infringement is the largest single problem reducing their revenue potential. Evidence I've seen in my decades involved in the copyright revision process suggested neither are true, and that barriers put up by the copyright holders are the largest incentive to infringe and the largest barrier to revenue potential.

The BBC is an example of a broadcaster I would like to pay money and subscribe to (not only for Doctor Who), but that continues to put up barriers to me doing so. I am not a subscriber to a BDU, which is one of the common tied sales used by broadcasters. What potential customers like myself want for television and movie content is a subscription service like Netflix which isn't tied to any specific BDU or Internet provider, and which works on enough devices that it works on devices which we own. It's not just millennials that value Netflix more that broadcast or cable.

The BBC already have the technology in place, but thus far refuse to make the service available for their own "business" reasons. Within the UK the BBC iPlayer offers a streaming service that works on nearly as many devices as Netflix does (I didn't see my Boxee Box), but this service is not made available outside the UK.

There is a separate iPlayer for BBC Worldwide, but it is tied to Apple controlled devices. I have sent feedback at least once a year for a few years about this problem, and this year someone in the "BBC iPlayer (Global) Team" sent the following nonsense:

The BBC iPlayer UK and the BBC iPlayer Global are two separate entities. The UK iPlayer is available on Android and via the UK BBC iPlayer website, The global iPlayer is only available on Apple devices at this time as they are able to enforce licensing rights on a region by region basis while other providers have been unable/unwilling to enforce such actions.

In other words, Apple lied to them about the capabilities of their encrypted media platform suggesting that the restriction the BBC was requesting is possible or even reasonable. This dishonesty, as well as their total disrespect for the property rights of technology owners, are a few of the reasons why I will never be a customer of Apple. Content delivery which is tied to the use of Apple devices is effectively unavailable to me.

There are now rumors that the BBC may be removing content from Netflix. While this wasn't their latest seasons of shows, I have enjoyed viewing old seasons of shows which I didn't access in some other way closer to the air date. Given the nonsense response from the iPlayer Global team I bet out-of-touch broadcasters like the BBC are behind the recent useless attempts at geoblocking by Netflix. While this business problem created by copyright holders like the BBC can't be solved by technology, Neftlix is forced to do a bit of theater to distract copyright holders into thinking they are doing everything they can. I get the impression that Netflix as a company is more honest than Apple, and won't outright lie to copyright holders about the capabilities of encrypted media systems.

The reality is that in whatever regions the BBC refuses to make their content available in a way that returns revenue to the BBC are regions where the viewing of BBC content won't return revenues to the BBC. It is entirely unreasonable for the BBC to be putting up barrier to receiving money, and then whining when they don't receive that rejected money.

These types of barriers are typical. Copyright holders put up one barrier after another for people to access their content through mechanisms authorized by them, driving people to access that content using easier unauthorized mechanisms. While the solution to eradicating these unauthorized mechanisms has always been to reduce the barriers to the authorized mechanisms, copyright holders continue to try to pass the buck elsewhere for their self-inflicted problems.

Jan 16 update:  There are further reports about Netflix US removing Doctor Who and other BBC Programmes.

And later in the same day there were reports that Netflix Renews Deal for ‘Doctor Who,’ ‘Luther,’ More BBC Series