The Netflix VPN ban: now it’s the pirate’s life for us

Approx Reading Time-10With Netflix banning the software that allows subscribers to view the full catalogue, for some, it will again be the pirate’s life for us.


This is the end, my Netflix friends, the end.

Of our elaborate scam, the end.

With the cruel paternal figure Netflix taking away our shiny red VPN’s by risk of belt and returning us to our rooms (the one with the subpar viewing selection) we ask why. Why, Netflix? You made us do it. Why don’t we get the same toys as everyone else?

For years, we’ve been abused/pleaded/thanked by a wide array of anti-piracy messages, but the emergence of Netflix (and fellow sub-television providers) finally shed light on the piracy issue. By and large, we don’t download because we’re vindictive, or even lazy; we download because we’re bored.

“What’s on…nothing” –> Download.

“Is the new x out yet?” “Nah.” -> Piracy.

When Netflix moved into the TV neighbourhood, it was something different, something gorgeous. We soon found out that she wasn’t the perfect girl-next-door we assumed. And although she was holding back from us, it didn’t matter, there was enough to sate us. Until we became bored. We then sought shores anew: namely, her American cousin (the more interesting one). But she wouldn’t come over, so again the pirate life was the life for us, as we loaded up on rum (raisin Häagen-Dazs), setting off for the rolling international waters of TV viewership, sailing our jolly vessel VPN around the horn, seeking only the finest mini-series gold – despite the fact that we hadn’t left port. Yo ho ho. And while the men who made the laws saw it as shenanigans most foul, t’was not piracy, because we were paying for it.

At most, it was the bending of a rule that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. And it wouldn’t have, if not for stupid bureaucracy. Which is Australiana at it’s very core. A tick in the national brain. When we’re unable to fix something, or procure something through proper means, we make do. An ingenious temporary fix on an ongoing problem. Be it the thousandfold gaffer tape layer upon the leaky tap, or the evacuation of Gallipoli.

We won’t solve it, but we’ll make it usable.

It’s fair to note that we only do this when pushed. The landlord should have fixed the tap. The English shouldn’t have landed us at ANZAC, and Netflix certainly should have bloody well made all of its content available.

Now, I’m not going to lobby Netflix to reverse their VPN decision, because it’s a grey area, and they’d laugh mockingly over our shoulders. But there’s a lesson here: as (Archie) Moses said (in Bulletproof), “You know what your problem is (Netflix), you see everything in black and white. You don’t realise most people live in a grey area.” You know where I saw that movie, Netflix? Yeah. There’ll always be a backdoor.

While Foxtel and Roadshow are (rightfully) going all “East India Trade Company” chasing these electronic pirates to the end of the continent, they should know this: while you may cannonade the fort of Pirate Bay with affidavits and claim the tattered flag that flies above it, you will not erase piracy. Before these latest rapscallions, there were those who rode the loathed clippers named Limewire, IsoHunt and Napster. Any attempt at destroying the ethos of piracy will invariably fail, but if you limit the pirate’s influence, the threat (and the cost) will diminish substantially. Minimisation is the hook.

(*cough cough* excellent subscription television)

All I’m saying is that we want what the others already have. Separate, but equal. We’ll pay whatever you ask, for money is no object in staving off boredom. But if you continue to drag your feet with this talk of the long road to viewing equality due to “licensing issues,” we’ll soon sever our subscriptions and don the eye patch once more.


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