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Television Networking The Internet

Hulu Blocks International Access Via Witopia 256

Posted by timothy
from the secretly-to-increase-american-tourism dept.
An anonymous reader notes, and excerpts from, an article at PC Authority: "It's human nature that people always want what they can't have — which is why there's so much interest around the world in accessing the US-only Hulu site. Hulu offers a range of television shows for streaming, including Family Guy, The Daily Show and House along with a few full length movies. ... If you're outside the US, the easiest method for accessing Hulu that many people are discussing online, is using a US-based VPN, which tricks Hulu into thinking their computer is within the US. Initially Hulu started cracking down on free VPN services such as Hotspot Shield, but now it's turned its attention to Witopia — which costs $40 or $US60 per year but offers a faster, more secure and more reliable service than its free competitors. Initially Witopia's LA gateway remained unaffected, but now Hulu has blocked this as well."
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Hulu Blocks International Access Via Witopia

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  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:19PM (#29920237)
    Dear content producers, on behalf of most of the world could you please do us a favor and release things globally? In case you haven't looked online, there are many sites where you can get things for free online (http://thepiratebay.org/) most of us though would really just like the support the creators. If you won't sell the product where your fans are, how are we supposed to support you? I can understand physical DVD sales or broadcasting it via television because that costs money, however the internet allows you to distribute content for -free- without the overhead of needing to translate, ship or alter any media. Even better have the fans do the work -for you- if bandwidth is a problem make it be P2P, if translating it into people's language is a problem allow fansubs. As for the "cultural barrier" many of your fans are educated enough to know that there is a difference in culture and will look up, or accept the cultural difference without being offended. This isn't advice just for American TV being released outside of America but also to anime companies and other companies releasing things globally.

    Bottom line. We, the people who don't live in the country where you are currently producing, want to -buy- your content or at least look at the ads. If you won't let us, fine. We will simply pirate it. But chances are you want to make money right? So don't treat us like second-class citizens, we have money just like "your part" of the world does and no, we don't like getting episodes 1-2 months later than the rest of the world and no we don't like being shut off of a service that would allow us to watch TV while supporting the producers. If you must, just block non-American IPs but don't be idiots and start blocking VPNs and other ways to block your fans from trying to legitimately support you. We have other options, but you have an opportunity with the internet to allow us to pay for content. But if you don't want our money, fine. We will go back to pirating your shows.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Obviously they'd prefer to sell^Wlicense the distribution rights multiple times across multiple "regions".

      Which they clearly think will give them more money than doing so on a global basis.

      • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:20AM (#29922109) Journal

        Why ascribe to male that which can be explained by common sense?

        - Can advertisements about Double Whoppers have any value to Europeans or Japanese?
        - How about advertising about Bank of America?
        - Or the new Chevy Volt?

        Hulu's advertisements are aimed towards a specific audience - Americans. They have zero interest in advertising to other areas of the world, because Hulu has nothing to gain from it. Therefore Hulu cuts-off those regions where they have nothing to gain, and you would probably do the same if you owned that business.

      • by phoomp (1098855) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:36AM (#29922457)
        Yup. And yet, almost every major website with advertising has figured out a way to deliver ads that are not only localized, but also, and even better, targeted based on my browsing habits. If content distributors would take a moment to step into this century, they would realize that they don't have to license the content locally. All they need to do is to get local advertisers to *come to them* and then distribute the ads appropriately based on IP. They've already figured out how to *block* us geographically based on IP ... but, content distributors always seem good with technology when it comes to *pissing off* their customers.
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      You'd think that for a good slice of that $40-$60/mo they'd be willing to offer them a subscription of some sort. Especially if they've been complaining that "the purely free-content business model is unsustainable".
      • It's $40-$60/yr., and do you really think that Witopia would be willing to give any of that up if they could avoid it?

        Though a subscription idea to remove ads would be very interesting to me, as long as it removes all the video ads and doesn't have overlays on what I want to watch.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858)

          I would happily pay $60/year directly to Hulu to be able to access their content in the UK without adverts, and I'd even be willing to pay annually in advance. It's only $5/month for them, but it's $5/month that they wouldn't otherwise be getting. I don't own a TV, so the content producers aren't getting anything from me via syndicated networks over here either. They get a little bit when I rent DVDs, which is how I watch most TV shows these days, but that's almost certainly less than $5/month because th

        • by Grimbleton (1034446) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:31AM (#29921925)

          I pay over $100 a month for internet and TV and still haven't gotten rid of those damned video ads over there on the television. Don't press your luck. =\

          (Though the TV is on maybe five times a month in one hour blocks, so that may be going away soon. Hulu is too convenient for me to bother with the TV.)

          • Cable TV is a weird animal. It could support itself wholly-and-completely by commercials, just like broadcast television does, but at some point cable channel owners had the brilliant idea to charge Comcast, Cox, and other cable companies for the content. At first these rates were reasonable... about 20 cents per home.

            Then cable TV started creating original programming instead of merely reruns, which obviously costs a lot of money. Although some channels like FOX News or CNN still charge 20 cents per hom

    • by Animaether (411575) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:38PM (#29920341) Journal

      err... what money?
      I thought Hulu was ad-supported?

      And what American advertiser is going to want to place ads for videos that are seen in countries where they may not even have an establishment?
      Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

      So, Hulu and the content rights holders would have to come to advertising agreements in all of the other nations being catered to while at the same time, trying not to piss off the the broadcasters in those areas too much (after all, the syndicated content -does- appear on TV much later, once these smaller broadcasters can actually afford it - but what advertisers are -they- going to attract if everybody's already seen it for free via Hulu?)... so good luck with that.

      And if they -did- start charging cold hard cash... well, I guess one could claim iTunes as being highly successful, so if they did it well, it might even work. In due time, I suppose.

      • by TheWizardTim (599546) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:57PM (#29920433) Journal

        What about just advertising the brand? If IP = US ad for McDonald's new heart attack burger. If IP != US, then just a general ad for McDonalds.

        Or you can advertise products that people would never buy. For example, on CNN I see ads for Boeing all the time. I am not in the market for a new 787, and I bet that 99.9999996% of the viewers are not as well.

        • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:14AM (#29920531)
          If IP = US ad for McDonald's new heart attack burger. If IP != US, then just a general ad for McDonalds.

          You, the presenter (in this case Hulu) have to convince McDonalds of that.
          Ads are VERY time and location specific. You don't advertise snow tires in Miami, and you don't advertise sandals in Minnesota. Ok...maybe. But not in February.

          Boise, Baltimore, and Barcelona all get different McDonalds ads. And at different times.

          As for the Boeing ads...thats just brand awareness. Obviously not a product you will buy, but a brand you, the business owner/voter, may defend in the next round of bailouts.
          • True ads are hard to translate across regions or cultures, perhaps a fee for service model would work better for expanding the market for shows. Also, there are a lot of companies that are very region centric, often US, or US and Canada that don't rely on advertising. For example: why did it take nearly 2 years to get a version of the Kindle that works outside the US (oddly it still doesn't work in Canada but it works in Germany where I currently live)? Even now that we have the Kindle outside the US you st
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by magarity (164372)

          I am not in the market for a new 787
           
          Heck, I am.
           
          OK, so lining up financing has me stumped, but I'm totally in the market otherwise.

      • I don't buy that excuse. If Hulu couldn't make enough from ad revenue overseas then they should offer a paid subscription. They have no shortage of people trying to see what they offer and I'd bet that by continually making efforts to stop fans from accessing the site from outside the US they're only encouraging people to go elsewhere, even piracy.

      • They can always use an international ad network. I don't see any other ad-supported site complain about foreign visitors. And the ones that do try to keep foreigners out (Such as Nico Nico) still let your register and view the site so long as you can manage to create an account in their language.

        So, Hulu and the content rights holders would have to come to advertising agreements in all of the other nations being catered to while at the same time, trying not to piss off the the broadcasters in those areas too much (after all, the syndicated content -does- appear on TV much later, once these smaller broadcasters can actually afford it - but what advertisers are -they- going to attract if everybody's already seen it for free via Hulu?)... so good luck with that.

        But there are still many other shows that don't make it past American, European or Japanese shores at all. For example Family Guy is only broadcast in the US as far as I know and it has been broadcast since 1999,

        • by onco_p53 (231322)

          Family guy has been broadcasted in New Zealand for years. Ditto Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill...

          • And Australia... there are other places in the world (you know, that bit outside the contiguous 48) where English is the primary language and people can easily translate the Americanisms out of shows.

            We even take slops like Oprah, Judge Judy, Bold and The Beautiful, various flavours of CSI, NBC Today, and (for something truly parochial) PBS Jim Lehrer News Hour.

            • by onco_p53 (231322)

              Yeah we get all those too, on free-TV too I should add. Maybe it is the poor quality transmission, but is there something weird with Lehrer's eyes?

              My favourite non sci-fi export would have to be NCIS.

        • There are many anime fans who would much rather watch the original with subtitles than with sub-par voice acting and many references, scenes or entire characters removed or changed.

          O rly? Well, I'd rather watch the original with subtitles than even the most competent dub. That goes for animation, TV shows, movies, and games: the original voice acting must absolutely NOT be changed in localization, be it English, Japanese, Russian, Swahili, Elvish, Klingon, Pig Latin, or Swedish Chef!

        • Family Guy is being broadcasted in Spain too, dubbed: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfQlZXfy1Wo

          But yes, the market should open. There's a lot of following of shows through Internet. So much, in fact, that now Flashforward is being broadcasted here one week after USA, quite a feat if you take into account that it's dubbed (lots of dubbing here).

      • Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

        Geolocation via IP - serve up different ads based on the viewers' geographical location. It's done all the time, along with time-of-day, so that you can target your ads to the viewers you want. Spamvertisers with their affiliate advertising do it all the time, why can't Hulu?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AlXtreme (223728)

          Geolocation via IP - serve up different ads based on the viewers' geographical location. It's done all the time, along with time-of-day, so that you can target your ads to the viewers you want. Spamvertisers with their affiliate advertising do it all the time, why can't Hulu?

          They already do. How do you think they block non-US viewers?

          The problem is that US-centric advertisers don't want to target someone in Kazakhstan and that Hulu doesn't want to jump through hoops licensing their content to each and every

      • Even those that do - say, McDonald's - can't exactly advertise a burger that they're offering nation-wide in the U.S. for a particular price in another country where that product is not available, or is available but for a different price.

        Brand awareness can still be of value. Even though an ad might be for a Big Mac, the person who sees the ad might want to go to McDonalds and get a McArabia sandwich after watching Brian and Stewie tell fart jokes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        Or ... they could just use the same geolocation they use to block IPs outside the US to serve location aware advertising. Don't serve the US add to China. Amazon would probably be more than happy to have its ads served in China though.

        They are already using the tech, wouldn't take much effort to support it really.

      • It's at least as easy for Hulu to deliver different ads to different countries as it is to block people from those countries and hunt down their US proxies, etc.

        Some businesses like McDonalds may have a presence that allows running many customized ads (and as it is unlikely they have setup a presence without advertising it there does not need to be much if any cost creating new adds). Otherwise you can contract with someone local there who is selling web advertising--if they are selling it at all then pr

      • by crossmr (957846)

        Canadians routinely see ads on their cable channels for businesses and products that are unavailable, a different price, or possibly illegal. It doesn't seem to bother those american advertisers.

      • by daybot (911557) *

        And what American advertiser is going to want to place ads for videos that are seen in countries where they may not even have an establishment?

        There's a huge opportunity being missed here - international targeted ads based on your locality using IP geolocation [wikipedia.org]. McDonald's could pay megabucks for generic worldwide ads, while Tony's Steak House could pay a few thousand dollars for highly targeted ads in Rochester MN. That would really throw the Internet cat amongst the TV network pigeons.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:04AM (#29920465)

      I don't understand how "region coding" and "region blocking" has survived this long. It is *inherently* anti-globalization and is probably the poster child example of how "globalization" is really a crock of shit designed only to benefit multi-national corporations and NOT the consumer.

      • by vxvxvxvx (745287) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:14AM (#29920527)
        One reason for it is the different regulations of each country. If a major company with deep pockets sells a region-free DVD globally some country will sue because it didn't censor the left eyebrow of all blonde women, or whatever ludicrous regulation that country has.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by amRadioHed (463061)

          How can they be sued if they don't sell in the country where it would be illegal. They can't be sued for someone crossing a border with their product.

        • DVD region are *whole* region, and no specific countries. DVD region code [wikipedia.org] the UAE and middle east is for example region 2 and Europe too. Would you care to compare censoring of UAE with the one of say, sweden ? Censorship at state level is done film by film (usually an authority stamp an approval) and is fully independant of DVD region. The only reason DVD region is there is to stage different price and release date for different region, parallel to the release date of the films. Whether this is enough of a
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Tell ya what. You're so interested in global content, but we've got all these political hoops we have to go through to make that work. Every last little country has its own media industry and they want things their own way.

      But now, here's my proposal: We, the media, will give you global media - your way, anywhere. Now you - you just have to sign on the dotted line here, that says "I the undersigned, agree to a global governing body"...that's right, good. Now, see? We were going this way all along. And you
    • I think the point is that Hulu is paying for their bandwidth, and that since their advertisers are US based and that the content providers would like the opportunity to market their product in other counties. They cannot allow people outside the US to view it without losing their content.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jipn4 (1367823)

      Bottom line. We, the people who don't live in the country where you are currently producing, want to -buy- your content or at least look at the ads.

      Your countries are often at fault themselves. For example, many European nations insist on translating US programs into the local language. There are also many regulations, agreements, taxes, tariffs, guilds, copyright limitations, licensing fees, performance fees, etc. that effectively end up necessitate negotiating separate agreements with every country.

      • by bit01 (644603)

        Your countries are often at fault themselves. For example, many European nations insist on translating US programs into the local language. There are also many regulations, agreements, taxes, tariffs, guilds, copyright limitations, licensing fees, performance fees, etc. that effectively end up necessitate negotiating separate agreements with every country.

        All you're demonstrating is that the music/video distribution industry, as distinct from the music/video production industry, is a dinosaur. None of thi

    • by TikiTDO (759782)
      I'm sure the VPN blocking policy is simply a bureaucratic decision. As soon as some senior MPAA shill caught wind that you could go through VPN to "steal" their content, the studios probably told someone near the top of the Hulu corporate chain that this should be strictly US only. From there on, it's a management decision, and outside the realm of any logic. You must remember, this is the Media industry. As I'm sure you know, being a /. reader, logic is not one of their strong points.

      However, if we were to
    • I can understand physical DVD sales or broadcasting it via television because that costs money, however the internet allows you to distribute content for -free- without the overhead of needing to translate, ship or alter any media. Even better have the fans do the work -for you- if bandwidth is a problem make it be P2P, if translating it into people's language is a problem allow fansubs. As for the "cultural barrier" many of your fans are educated enough to know that there is a difference in culture and wil

    • Dear content producers, on behalf of most of the world could you please do us a favor and release things globally

      Dear World. Could you please all learn to speak fluent English, and could you all agree to use the same contract and tax laws, so that content providers didn't have to go through intermediaries in each region that deal with localization of the content and handling dealing with the local legal and regulatory systems? Thanks!

    • by jonwil (467024)

      One big reason why worldwide distribution is so hard is that every country has their own ratings system for content and expects content producers to respect that (not release content not approved, only release content rated "adult" to adults etc)
      The US has the MPAA ratings system (which may be optional but which most studios tend to follow for their content)
      Australia has the OFLC
      Germany has the USK
      The UK has the BBFC
      Other European countries have their own systems (with all the things the EU has done, why ha

  • For the internet breaking all national boundaries!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      Well actually it does, it's just that media corporations aren't getting the message. They fought tooth and nail to maintain their control at every step in the advancement of media technology. The problem is that there are no technical limitations preventing these shows from going global, it's purely limited by the media corporations' need for control over their media. People can still access these shows through other means, they jsut aren't legal means. Which is really too bad; the media companies had a

  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Thursday October 29, 2009 @11:43PM (#29920369)

    You got Hulu which is supported by ads. For every single person who views a show, they view ads.

    Businesses pay for these ads to be shown. Maybe it's like 10 cents for a 30 second commercial, times the number of times its viewed, or something like that.

    Since the advertisements are geared towards American audiences, when someone from a non-American audience views it, it devalues what the ads are worth. A business can argue since their target is Americans, and if let's say 50% of viewers are non-Americans, then they should only have to pay like 5 cents per 30 second commercial per viewer, and not the full price.

    As the number of people viewing Hulu increases, and assume that the percentage of Americans viewing in total viewership decreases, then the profit Hulu makes falls.

    Assuming that the number of American viewers is static, Hulu has to pay for more people to view their site, while having a fixed influx of revenue.

    Of course, this can be solved simply if content providers allowed other countries to view the site, and also had advertisers geared towards that audience.

    • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:00AM (#29920445)

      Ads can be targetted based on IP. If your IP isn't hidden behind a VPN, that is.

      I'm starting to wonder when the content industry will realize that their competition in the form of piracy is higher quality, free, and easier to use.

    • by timmarhy (659436)
      "it devalues what the ads are worth"

      why? an ads value is in how many people see it and how many of those people seeing it purchase a product based on it. if you have no presnce in a country then it's no loss, and if you do eg. macdonalds, it's better for you anyway.

      hulu's beef might be that they aren't getting revenue from ads placed by overseas companies but they are still bearing the cost of bandwidth. which is fair enough, but if you've got such a huge number of viewers paying to access your site via a

      • Not necessarily. If your advertisement is geared to one market but possibly offensive to another region you'd rather not have your ad shown there at all. For example during the cold war area McDonald's had an expensive American import image in Russia and people paid insane amounts to go to MDs, you wouldn't want to advertise your $1 menu to those customers at that time.
    • by Dunbal (464142)

      Since the advertisements are geared towards American audiences, when someone from a non-American audience views it, it devalues what the ads are worth.

      This is the kind of logic that investment banks love. You probably have a bright future on Wall St.

      Ads are not "worth" anything. They are expenses. A company has a budget of X dollars to spend on advertising. The company hopes that advertising will increase sales. The company really wants to know: If I spend X dolla

    • Its a wonder nobody has been able to make targeted video ads relating to whatever is known about a viewer. Google is probably working on something like that to use in Youtube eventually though.
    • by prockcore (543967) on Friday October 30, 2009 @02:12AM (#29920981)

      It has absolutely nothing to do with ads, and everything to do with media contracts with overseas content providers.

      If you're in the UK, and you want to watch Hulu, don't yell at Hulu, yell at Sky. They're the ones who have the exclusive broadcasting rights for certain shows in your country... they're the ones whose contracts prevent Hulu from streaming to your country.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kurt555gs (309278)

        The greed of the movie and recording industry, is only exceeded by the oil business. I have no sympathy for Hulu, and some archaic distribution scheme. The internet is across the globe. Maybe some one should have told one of these greedy media executives the the full URL www.hulu.com contains (www). Some one needs to tell the money grubbing teeth gnashing slime ball that means "World Wide Web".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Grey Ninja (739021)
      I'm Canadian. I can't access Hulu, yet I have American TV stations on cable, and they advertise things like how to deal with the IRS, and how to get "greenbacks" for gold. How exactly are these ads targeted toward me?
  • I know of many people who live overseas since they are in the US military and they have a witopia account so they can access US content while they're overseas. They also still purchase American products on their local base, and they actually like to watch US commercials since all the local stuff is in Japanese. I guess we'll have to find a way around this too...
    • by zoloto (586738)
      If you want, I can see what I can do about setting up a proxy for you guys to use similar to witopia. let me know.
    • Hulu may be able to unblock the IPs of the US military bases without getting itself in trouble with its content providers (after all, most US military bases are technically US soil). However, this means the military would have to provide Hulu with a list of its IP addresses, which it may be reluctant to provide -- for security reasons.
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        The information for standard base users is already available and if it wasn't, it wouldn't be hard to figure out. Trying to hide the fact that your IP is for a specific location or organization is rather silly.

        In most cases a traceroute to the originating IP will make it pretty clear that its a US military base.

        You might not do it for some super secret stuff, but those guys probably aren't watching Hulu over the network either. They most likely aren't even able to.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Its not like the government can't register the base IPs with Hulu to overcome the problem. I doubt too many advertisers would fight it, being that it would seem pretty damn 'un-American' to cut off your military personal overseas.

      Of course on that same note, Hulu could figure it out pretty easy themselves. There aren't THAT many bases to deal with.

    • by gordguide (307383)

      If they are physically in Japan, they rights to the broadcast belong to a Japanese firm, or to no-one (meaning it can't be legally broadcast there). Hulu doesn't have the right to broadcast to anyone physically sitting in front of a TV/monitor in Japan, military base or no.

      If they did, you would be able to watch it, no VPN required.

      Hulu needs to negotiate with the rights holders in each country it intends to send it's stream to. Hulu's agreements with the holders of the US copyrights only apply if you are v

  • They don't give geographical information, and therefore, can never be properly served with accurate ads. Those of us international people, waiting for this, are just going to have to hold tight . There isn't any need to lobby anybody, this is all coming, very soon, for everybody.
  • by ProfMobius (1313701) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:26AM (#29920609)
    The overall problem is more complex than just a ad problem. In many European countries, the shows have to legally be dubbed (France, Germany, Spain) or at least subbed (Danmark, Sweden). So, if they diffuse them oversea, they are making themself fool of the law. I don't know for internet if the applied law if the law of the served country or the serving country, but in all cases, it is a more complex problem than just "do it".

    On a side note, I find totally rubbish the laws about forcing dubbing and subbing, and if Hulu was available in France/Germany, I would use it instead of tpb. But right now I don't have a choice, and it just piss me off.

    • by D4C5CE (578304) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:36AM (#29920859)
      Could you point out which provisions are supposed to impose this requirement? I know for a fact that many cinemas and even late-night TV are showing original language versions (subtitled at worst) which are popular with both expats and local movie enthusiasts in Germany and increasingly even France. As a matter of EU law, the Common Market actually demands Television without Frontiers [europa.eu] with the rights having to be acquired by the broadcaster for the entire satellite footprint, i.e. regularly across national and language borders.
      • by gordguide (307383)

        I don't believe there are any requirements that the programs be dubbed in EU states (but I'm willing to look at any evidence to the contrary).

        The whole idea of dubbing limits stems from a law in France that stated, essentially, that you have to hire a French firm (as in a firm based in the country of France, not a French language company from anywhere the language is spoken) to do the dubs if you do dub to the French language.

        I'm pretty sure it only applied (or might still apply) to movies shown in theaters

    • I have seen film in VO-stf in France on *public* channel, and I have bought DVD without even subtitle or dubs in France in big retailer. Sure there could have been a law they ignored, but I would like to see that law linked and shown. There was an old law in ~1930 saying they could only show original film in a few cinema, but has been AFAIK repelled or not enforced for DVD.
  • The Internet was designed to work around roadblocks to the free flow of data.

    If the media companies push hard enough, more people will simply setup private proxies. A PC with a private proxy looks just like a PC with a user, to a site like Hulu. You can even tunnel it over ssh or a traditional VPN if you want to get fancy. Blocking ports doesn't work, unless you block them all; software is flexible.

    It only takes one person out of seven billion to make something available to the other 6,999,999,999 people

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:56AM (#29920919) Journal
    I'm watching eposide 6 of The Amazing Race right now, via Hulu, sitting in my apartment in Shanghai, China. No problem at all. And I watched a movie last night via Netflix as well. There are lots of VPNs - commercial and free - that work really, really well...
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Friday October 30, 2009 @02:05AM (#29920949)

    It's human nature that people always want what they can't have -- which is why there's so much interest around the world in accessing the US-only Hulu site.

    ...and has yet to realize that there is no such thing on the Net as "can't haves" and "US-only sites". Technically, inaccessibility is damage and deservedly gets routed around. Laws trying to protect flawed business models that ask for the crippling of technological infrastructures to prevent larger audiences are a waste of taxpayers' money, much like a crackdown on automobiles would have been about a century ago to save forever the then status quo of the "flourishing" horse cart and pony express "industries".

  • I just use my American-hosted server as an SSH proxy to watch Hulu.

  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Friday October 30, 2009 @02:14AM (#29920985)

    A few weeks back I purchased a VPS server for the purpose of watching Hulu. I tunneled all my traffic by using SOCKS and many services clearly thought I was in the USA except Hulu.

    Hulu seems to be doing client side checks, checking your Locale/time settings I suspect.

    I am in Brisbane, QLD, Australia and I belive my VPS was in a Houston datacenter in Texas USA.

  • I know my wife would happily cough up $7 or so per episode just to watch the latest edition of Nip/Tuck or Californication every week. She'd be quite happy if something like Hulu or Amazon allowed her to post her money to the content providers in exchange for this, rather than just buying the DVD set (at the end of each series screening) every time we visit the USA. Wholesale blocking doesn't do the industry any favours.
  • by gordguide (307383) on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:53AM (#29921345)

    ... Whatever country you live in. Trust me, it's part of the plan.

    Rights are complex. They can be, essentially, broken up into infinite pieces. I can sell you the right to be the first to broadcast something, and sell the rights to subsequent broadcasts to someone else. That's what "all rights reserved" means ... if I don't specifically say they're included, they 're not included.

    Sometimes companies screw up when they sell rights, failing to anticipate some technology, and finding out they are prevented from taking advantage of that technology because the rights they sold were too broad in scope.

    They can be anything; I could create a contract selling the rights to broadcast in any year the Yankees did not win the World Series, or the rights to broadcast only on tuesdays in Upper Volta and only if the date is an odd number on the Gregorian Calendar. Whatever.

    Hulu has to prove to the content creators that they are capable of enforcing the rights they buy from the creators, who (we assume, because it's US made content streamed to US viewers) are the rights holders. Hulu very much wants to stream to every country in the world, but before it can do that, it has to show it's capable of enforcing the rights it buys and limiting the scope of it's stream to those it has the right to stream to, and no-one else.

    If Hulu fails, the content creators will just shit-can them and get someone else. Hulu has a lot at stake here, and they can't afford to screw up. So, they're going to limit streams to US residents, because that's the only viewers they have a right to stream to.

    Later, if they pull this off, they'll set up elsewhere by negotiating with rights holders elsewhere.

    Chances are when they get around to 'elsewhere' they are not the same people they buy the rights from for the US streams; the content creators are in the business of selling rights to others, and those rights probably cover what Hulu is doing. So, Hulu needs to negotiate with those people, not the original content creators.

    Ads are irrelevant ... that's purely Hulu's business and revenue model, and has nothing to do with whether you can view the stream wherever you are. Content creators and rights holders don't care how Hulu makes it's money as long as they get paid themselves.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      ... Whatever country you live in. Trust me, it's part of the plan.

      I'll use the proverbial "I can throw a quarter and hit the US," from where I'm sitting comment.

      I'm not sure what they're thinking but it really does baffle me sometimes, since we have exactly the same shows broadcast up here yet they can't be seen. I can tell you that most Canucks who even have the smallest bit of tech savviness to them, will do one of two things. Let it burn in cold snowy fire, or download it through a usenet provider i

  • I see all these comments saying "But Hulu shows only American adverts!!11".

    If Hulu can determine so easily where you're coming from, how hard would it be for them to do some analytics on viewership for a particular show and tailor the ad prices accordingly? Additionally, how are these ads served up? Are they transcoded into the video being viewed? If not, dynamically change the ads being displayed to the user based on his/her region.

    Win-win-win-win. Hulu gets more money from global advertisers. More com
  • no. people want what they want, and people expect to have what they CAN have. before there was electricity, people had to wait for ships to bring newspapers from europe with the latest news (from 6 months ago). If they had a telegraph installed right into their living room, would they still go to the docs every day? people CAN have tv shows, and that's why they want them from Hulu. And if Hulu won't give it to them, somebody else will.

  • While the fact that Hulu, NBC.com et al blocks content to people like me outside of the USA is annoying, what almost drives me battier is other sites that embed/deep-link this content as well.

    Ain't it Cool News is famous for this - They're always embedding or deep-linking the latest SNL video or The Office preview that doesn't work outside of the USA, and they're not alone.

    Hey 'webmasters'- If people outside of the USA can't view the content hosted on video sites, stop deep linking to it on *your* sites - You wind up looking stupid.

    Yours truly,
    An Annoyed Canadian

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