Culture

Aussies Should Have The Right To Sneak Past Geoblocking, Says The Productivity Commission

Pictured: you, a law-abiding internet user.

For the longest time, geoblocking has been the bane of humble Australian internet users trying to access the dank content our overseas counterparts take for granted. Comedy Central episodes; the riches of American Netflix; watching Game of Thrones without a Foxtel subscription like every reasonable carbon-based life form. All lost to us. All forbidden.

This could be our new national flag if we ever get the Republic off the ground.

Obviously, we’ve gotten pretty good at sneaking past the barriers that US and other foreign content providers have thrown up. Torrenting, getting around geoblocking with VPNs and other forms of low-level internet piracy have become national pastimes, but for the technologically challenged or those unwilling to tiptoe outside the law, the only solution to these content woes is a long, handwritten list of internet questions to hand your long-suffering but very patient son when he returns home for Christmas (hi Mum).

If federal lawmakers heed the Productivity Commission’s new report, though, worrying about the legal implications of circumventing geoblocking may be a thing of the past. Confirming what every Australian with a working internet connection has known for the last 10 years, the PC’s newly-released Copy(Not)Right report concludes that “accessible and competitively priced online content is the best deterrent to copyright infringement,” that “Australian consumers should be able to access the same content as others,” and that “the Government should make clear that Australians should be able to circumvent geoblocking”. They even made a disgustingly cute infographic about it, so you can convince your mum it’s okay.

Look at his little face!

So go ahead and thrash that VPN you’ve been using to rewatch Twin Peaks on US Netflix. If the government’s own productivity watchdog thinks you’ve got the right to do it, it could be about to get a little harder for American content giants to send you threatening letters in the mail Dallas Buyers Club-style.