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You Can Hide, but in Europe You Can’t Watch Hulu

You Can Hide, but in Europe You Can’t Watch Hulu

This article from Monday’s New York Times feels timely for me, as I just returned from the FIND Filmmaker Forum in L.A., discussing issues of online video piracy. One of the biggest incentives for illegal consumption of film or TV, is the lack of legal availability. “What choice do I have?” is the common sentiment from people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, because when a European show doesn’t make itself available in the U.S., isn’t piracy the only way to consume it? From Eric Pfanner’s article:

The Web is rife with talk that Spotify is about to sign U.S. rights agreements. There is also plenty of speculation that the company and the labels will never reach agreement, either because Spotify is unable to meet their terms or because music executives are cooling to the idea of free, ad-supported music. There have been unsourced reports that Apple is trying to sabotage the talks in an effort to protect iTunes and a possible music streaming service of its own, or even that Apple might want to buy Spotify.

Spotify says it has “absolutely no intention” of selling to anyone.

“We’re working hard to build the best music service we can and are in this for the long haul,” it said in a statement, adding that it hoped to introduce a U.S. version by the end of the year.

Regardless of the reason for the delays, Spotify’s U.S. travails provide an interesting twist on international licensing issues. Often the roadblocks work the other way around, stymieing the plans of U.S. digital media and entertainment companies to expand to Europe.

That has been the case for Hulu, a popular online TV service in the United States, as well as Netflix, which offers online movies. The Kindle electronic book reader from Amazon, while available in some parts of Europe, has little local content available, because Amazon has been unable to sign licensing deals with European publishers.

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