Once again, Netflix has vowed to clamp down on password sharing. Yet, like the VPN ban of 2016, we’ll find a way around their baseless threats.
This is the end, my Netflix friends, the end. Of our elaborate scam, the end. Well sort of.
The cruel paternal figure Netflix has been threatening to punish us for years. In 2016, they took away our shiny red VPNs and send us to bed without something to watch during dinner. In 2021, they’ve again threatened to crack down on the practice of password sharing. But, each time they exhibit authority, we ask them why.
After all, they made us do it, they failed to properly provide for us, and they’ve given the good content to users overseas.
Simply put, we shouldn’t believe their threats. Because they will never crack down on password sharing, because of the impact it will do their bottom line. It’s the classic parental empty threat. Like taking away our gaming devices, only for them to have to expend the extra effort to keep us entertained.
Per Quartz, the real issue Netflix is worried about, is piracy. As it stands, it impacts 10% of their yearly profits. In the time before Netflix we were battered by a wave of anti-piracy messages, warning us that stealing a movie was as bad as Murder One. But, the embarrassment of Netflix’s riches has illuminated the issue. By and large, we don’t download because we’re vindictive, or even lazy; we download because we’re bored.
We’ve all been victim to the following arithmetic:
“What’s on…nothing” –> Download.
“Is the new x out yet?” “Nah.” -> Piracy.
The VPN ban was the most egregious. If we’re pirates, we merely sail the international waters of TV viewership, captaining our jolly vessel VPN around the horn, seeking only the finest mini-series gold. Unlike the pirates of yore (and the lawmakers who believed it a crime), it was barely piracy, because we were already paying the membership fee.
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 humanity at its very core. When we’re unable to fix something or procure something through proper means, we make do. An ingenious temporary fix on an ongoing problem.
Now the ship has clearly sailed on the VPN decision, it goes without saying that Netflix should have bloody well made all of its content available, not punishing us for their limitations. Which is terrible parenting 101.
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.” Do 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.
All I’m saying is that we want what the others already have. 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.