A sidestep to overseas TV shows

Lee Suckling

Kiwis have often received the short stick on television entertainment. Traditionally, we've received TV shows months - sometimes even more than a year - after they initially screened in the United States.

Largely, this occurs because of corporate deals that monopolise entertainment access, but New Zealanders are cottoning on to a new way of consuming entertainment.

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a way to bypass one's internet protocol (IP) address (the thing that reveals your physical location) so you can access websites that are geographically restricted. According to progressive internet service providers (ISPs), VPNs offer a way to pay for the content one might otherwise pirate...

"Jeremy Johnson, a partner at law firm Wynn Williams who has experience in intellectual property disputes, says the use of VPNs is legally complicated because it stands at the intersection of domestic law, international law and technological advance.

"The IP [intellectual property] legislation is unclear as to whether using VPNs to access Netflix would constitute a breach of copyright by way of importation, but it is unlikely any civil or criminal liability would arise without a law change and it is difficult to see New Zealand needing to alter its laws to comply with the international IP conventions.

"The biggest legal risk consumers face is an accusation of breach of terms and then a blocking of access to services like Netflix


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