by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 3rd 2009 4:30pm
I mentioned recently that, for some idiotic reason, Hulu has stopped letting me view any of its content. That's because I use WiTopia's VPN service for security reasons. It seems that plenty of other WiTopia users are discovering this, as well, and are getting annoyed. The issue is that Hulu wants to block people from outside the US from viewing its content (for licensing reasons, even if they're pretty pointless in today's world). But, for some bizarre reason, it's been decided that anyone who uses any sort of VPN or proxy can't use Hulu at all because they might be coming from a foreign country. I'm sitting here in California and Hulu tells me I might be illegally accessing its content, so it doesn't allow it. So, instead, I don't give Hulu any additional ad views and I don't watch the content I wanted to watch. How does that help anyone? It appears to make everyone worse off. And it's not like WiTopia is some free anonymous proxy -- it's a pay-service that has been around for ages and is used regularly for WiFi security purposes. Many of its users are US-based (the company is based in the US, and most of its servers are in the US as well). So, because (gasp!) a small group of people outside the US might dare to catch a video (with ads!!), all of Witopia's US customers can't watch any content at all? This is the same ridiculous content industry mindset that drives so many people to unauthorized file sharing: they treat you as a criminal first and force you to prove you're not (or sometimes, don't even let you prove otherwise). The problem the industry is facing isn't due to some guy in Europe catching The Colbert Report from across the sea. It comes from turning off legitimate customers and users who are sick of being treated like crap.
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