Sky TV and Vocus are at odds over efforts to block pirating websites with both sides firing broadsides at each other.
Vocus Group, which runs the Orcon, Slingshot and Flip brands, is incensed by what it calls Sky’s attempt to censor the internet by demanding broadband providers block access to a range of websites.
It has labelled Sky’s demand gross censorship and a breach of net neutrality.
Sky, via its lawyers, requested that the company pick and choose the websites Kiwis can access via Spark, Vocus, Vodafone and 2Degrees networks.
I’m appalled Sky are doing this. We do not want ISPs blocking access to websites that companies disapprove of.
It is very thin end of the wedge. Block a few websites and within a year companies will be queuing up to add more to the list.
A Sky TV spokeswoman says when it comes to piracy, New Zealand is lagging behind in legal protection for content creators and legitimate content businesses, with 42 countries around the world already having similar laws in place.
We do have laws to protect content creators. And yes some sites do make torrents available. But blocking such sites achieves nothing as they merely move URLs and it creates a really bad precedent.
Also many of these sites have content that is non-infringing as well as infringing. You will be locking people accessing legitimate content.
Vocus disagree, and say that blocking a few websites will do nothing to stop piracy.
“Sky’s call that sites be blacklisted on their say-so is dinosaur behaviour, something you would expect in North Korea, not in New Zealand,” says Vocus consumer general manager Taryn Hamilton.
The request is in direct opposition to the idea that the internet is a free and open resource which should be accessed without censorship, he said.
The Pirate Bay, a entertainment downloading website, is only at 23 per cent of its 2013 peak and Netflix has fast become the largest content provider in the country, according to Mr Hamilton.
I’m about to cancel my Sky subscription. Not because of piracy, but because I now have Apple TV and Netflix and Lightbox.
Sky has been a hugely successful company that used to be the innovative company offering a superior product to its rivals. Their digital PVR was great and I loved being able to series record stuff. Do you remember the old days of having to manually program VCRs?
But their business model is now the outdated one. Netflix and Lightbox and even TVNZ on demand are the future. People want to be able to access pretty much any show past or present at any time. Sky should be turning itself into a NZ Netflix with a killer app and website, not trying to block websites.