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Bell Says Canadians are ‘Stealing’ U.S. Netflix When Watching via VPN

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Bell’s new media president, Mary Ann Turcke, made her first major speech as head of the division today at the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, reports The Star.

She was quick to start things off with a bang, by saying Canadians that access U.S. Netflix via VPN are essentially “stealing just like stealing anything else.”

Turcke touched on how society needs to change how it views the use of VPNs, noting “It takes behavioral change and it is the people — friend to friend, parent to child, coworker to coworker — that set the cultural framework for acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.”

So many people are using VPN solutions to access geo restricted content that “It has to become socially unacceptable to admit that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix — like throwing garbage out your car window – you just don’t do it.”

Turcke gave the example of her own 15 year old daughter finding out that U.S. Netflix has more content while on a ski vacation in the States. Upon coming back to Canada, she used a VPN to access the American Netflix content again, but “She was told she was stealing.”

Estimates peg one-third of Canadian Netflix customers accessing U.S. Netflix. These restrictions are there for a reason as Turcke explains “we need to personalize the fact that content is produced by real people, and that stealing it affects their livelihoods,” adding “I believe it is on us.”

The Bell media chief also said it’s now socially acceptable to not scold people for stealing content, whether it’s in the form of “how to” articles in newspapers, which detail how Canadians can bypass copyright law. Turcke said “Discoverability does not mean, at least not to me, watching whatever you want for free.”

When former Bell media chief Kevin Crull ‘left’ the company for interfering with CTV News coverage, he was replaced by Turcke.

At the beginning of this year, Netflix clarified their policy on accessing cross border content by saying:

Virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restrictions. We employ industry standard measures to prevent this kind of use. There hasn’t been any recent changes to the Netflix VPN policy or terms of use.

Back in February, a Rogers VP called for the Canadian government to shutdown VPNs and enforce copyright. When Canadians use VPN services that cost less than the price of a coffee per month to access cross border content (or $39 for a lifetime subscription in our Deals Store!), that means they aren’t paying for streaming services like Bell’s CraveTV or Rogers and Shaw’s shomi, which requires heavy investments for content deals.

So, are you using a VPN like Unblock-Us to access U.S. Netflix? Don’t steal now…

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