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Hulu Blocks VPN Users

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the you-can't-get-there-from-here dept.

Media 259

New submitter electronic convict writes: "Hulu, apparently worried that too many non-U.S. residents are using cheap VPN services to watch its U.S. programming, has started blocking IP address ranges belonging to known VPN services. Hulu didn't announce the ban, but users of the affected VPNs are getting this message: 'Based on your IP-address, we noticed that you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.' Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users — at least until they find new VPN providers. But in so doing it's now forcing its U.S. customers to sacrifice their privacy and even to risk insecure connections. Hulu hasn't even implemented SSL on its site."

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259 comments

U R Product (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844807)

N U Cum Cheap!

BS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844809)

OMFGBS!

Re: BS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844865)

Um... So what if Hulu isn't SSL for their main site?
They are for credit card processing.

And SSL does have "some" overhead, despite being minimal, and when you are talking about downloading 1+ GB at a time of encrypted data, what does it really matter?

Or is it that someone might be snooping on your dirty little secret that you watch My Little Pony when no one is home? The only possible concern is for people who use the same passwords on multiple services and that someone could snoop and suddenly get your Warcraft password.

Re: BS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845135)

OMFG blocking VPN!

Privacy is bad (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844815)

How dare you try to bypass our arbitrary and senseless restrictions, and how dare you try to obtain a bit of privacy!

Not their fault (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844891)

Oh I'm sure they think it's just as senseless, but if they don't restrict it, then Hollywood won't let them use their IP as cheaply as otherwise (or at all). I'm not associated with Hulu but I've worked for another internet streaming company, and trust us, we really hate Hollywood restrictions--they are shoved down our throats, we have no choice.

Do you /really/ think devs in the industry would implement DRM if we didn't have to? It's a pain in the neck to code and it keeps some of our customer base from using it at all! Half of us are Linux users at home and are just as pissed as you are when things won't work with it.

Re:Not their fault (4, Interesting)

Solozerk (1003785) | about 2 months ago | (#46845139)

Do you /really/ think devs in the industry would implement DRM if we didn't have to? It's a pain in the neck to code and it keeps some of our customer base from using it at all! Half of us are Linux users at home and are just as pissed as you are when things won't work with it.

Then leave. Find a job elsewhere. Or even better: spend some of your free time writing and publishing (anonymously, of course - use tor) DRM-defeating software based on what you implemented at work - you already have the tech details since you implemented the DRM stuff (or just publish the tech details anonymously and let others implement the stuff). They can't continue playing this kind of games if no developer are helping them.

And I don't think doing so would stop the release or funding of entertainment stuff, either (be it games, movies or music); people have been making music & art for thousand of years without that kind of shit, and people are genuinely ready to pay for content if it's quality, easily available, and reasonably priced; even if it's available elsewhere for free. They are also ready to pay to finance that kind of development even when a release is not certain (look at the many successful crowdfunded projects). It would certainly decrease the amount of shitty games/movies created, though.

The very fact that we have the technological capability to massively distribute culture at a very low cost and we don't because of greed/artificially enforced scarcity is truly depressing.

Re:Not their fault (4, Insightful)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 2 months ago | (#46845247)

man, while DRM is total bullshit, suggesting someone to do something that almost certainly would end with them getting fired (that's the best case, worse is being sued into oblivion) is just as bad.

Re:Not their fault (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845309)

Previous AC again: The streaming we have now is a lot better for our culture than what we had 10 years ago, and it's a lot more accessible to more people and cheaper than DVDs. I'm very okay with this kind of "freedom" proceeding slowly, even taking a couple steps backwards once in a while, because the advancements that it does bring are completely worth it when compared to not-100%-perfect ethical mores. It's region control of an entertainment luxury, not killing puppies...I don't think I would call it "depressing".

Technology advances the fastest when people with LOTS of money have their way, and while it's a very imperfect system, it's not a net harm to our culture by any stretch. It certainly advances a lot faster than if the giant Hollywood moguls weren't throwing money at it, and I have faith that--eventually--it will approach the kind of freedom you're after.

(I did leave that company a few years back, but certainly not because information wants to be free!)

Re:Not their fault (4, Interesting)

Solozerk (1003785) | about 2 months ago | (#46845435)

I'm very okay with this kind of "freedom" proceeding slowly, even taking a couple steps backwards once in a while, because the advancements that it does bring are completely worth it when compared to not-100%-perfect ethical mores.

I'm not - why should we settle for small steps, when we already have the capability to make giant ones ? where would we be right now as a species if even half the money spent in DRM schemes/IP protection stuff had been thrown in global network deployment (there are still large parts of the planet's population with no access to the Internet, or even no electricity) and putting online courses/teaching material/culture online ?

Technology advances the fastest when people with LOTS of money have their way

While the rest of your post seems pretty reasonable and possibly less utopic/optimistic than mine, this I strongly doubt. It seems to me that the very resources inequalities we're seeing currently - the very fact that some people posess thousands times more money/power than most - is a major part of such an artificially enforced scarcity. It's just concentration of power, and people in power wanting to keep that power.

Maybe I'm just too young / not cynical (call it realistic if you will) enough; that being said, once again, having the capability to diffuse culture massively and willingly limiting that capability seems like a form of madness to me. Makes you wonder what'll happen when material, real-life scarcity will no longer be an issue (and I personally think we're not that far of).

Re:Not their fault (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 months ago | (#46845311)

Hollywood owns Hulu, jointly owned by several studios and broadcasters, in fact. The idea was to own and control content distribution of TV over the internet while avoiding fracturing the market, and they've done a pretty good job of it.

Re:Privacy is bad (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845427)

FUCK HULU, waht a worthless shit service. ADs load but don't take you back to the show, causing refreshes way to often. THEY CHARGE FOR CONTENT THEN SHOVE ADS IN YOUR FACE. Adblock plus has been bricked. FUCK THEIR SHITTY NON SSL NON-PRIVATE BULLSHIT CRAPPY SERVICE.

PIRATES BAY IS THE WAY TO GO, FUCK YOU ALL WHO THINK WE NEED TO SPEND HALF OUR LIVES WATCHING ADS.

I don't think, they worry about non-US users (5, Insightful)

mi (197448) | about 2 months ago | (#46844819)

If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.

I suspect, it is the anonymity, that they wish to defeat — to be able to track users and sell the information.

Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users

That may be only a secondary concern.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844845)

Don't you have to be logged in to view videos? If so then they already have information to track and sell.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844875)

Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users

That may be only a secondary concern.

Actually, it may be a primary concern. Hulu licenses content for access only in the US. If it does not (at least make minimal efforts to) block access outside of the US, it is in violation of those licenses, potentially putting its ability to license content (and its business model) at risk.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845015)

Why, when Hulu detects a visitor arriving from a country other than the United States, does it not refer the user to the licensee doing business in that particular country?

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845323)

Because they don't really have that information. There may not even be a licensee in that particular country.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 months ago | (#46845405)

Why, when Hulu detects a visitor arriving from a country other than the United States, does it not refer the user to the licensee doing business in that particular country?

Because in most cases, there is no licensee doing business in that particular country. Sure here in Canada we have Netflix, but there sure isn't anything close to Hulu. Same hold true in many other countries, but really since I didn't use it I don't care too much, but I'm sure this is going to tick quite a few people off. It's quite similar as to the whole bit with HBO and Game of Thrones, and their other TV series. They *could* be making money hand over fist by selling it people online, but they don't. Instead it has to go through cable companies, which require you to buy into HBO via a part of a package which may cost you upwards of $100-200/mo on top of your normal cable bill.

And they wonder why piracy is running wild for that show. Derp.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 2 months ago | (#46845429)

When someone is coming in through a VPN, you have no idea what their country of origin is, so how can you tell what license to show them?

You can't.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 months ago | (#46845457)

Because outside the US, there is no licensee doing business. Every time I see someone from the US bitching about how awful Netflix and Hulu are, I want to tear my hair out because we (and most of the rest of the world) have nothing even remotely as good.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 2 months ago | (#46845029)

Also, Hulu is ad-supported. If I was one of their 'sponsors', I might be a bit annoyed that Hulu was billing me for ads delivered to countries where I don't even do business.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 months ago | (#46845057)

"Also, Hulu is ad-supported. If I was one of their 'sponsors', I might be a bit annoyed that Hulu was billing me for ads delivered to countries where I don't even do business."

People who use VPNs usually also use adblockers, they are the same crowd.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (3, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 months ago | (#46845445)

"Also, Hulu is ad-supported. If I was one of their 'sponsors', I might be a bit annoyed that Hulu was billing me for ads delivered to countries where I don't even do business."

People who use VPNs usually also use adblockers, they are the same crowd.

Ad blockers are pretty poor at doing their named job when the next 1800 frames inserted into the video stream are going to be 60 seconds worth of commercials, and you can go pee or not go pee, talk to your family, or whatever, but those are the 1800 frames @ 30FPS you are going to be getting over the next 60 seconds. Hulu has a fairly captive audience, due to their implementation of streaming.

The big argument with Aereo streaming content legally received on antennas within a given region where the information is broadcast is that the Aereo subscribers are unlikely to be customers of the local ads which paid (in theory) for the broadcast service to those devices. In other words, it's about regionality for the ads for ad-sponsorred content.

In practice, it's no different than taking your DVR with you on vacation, and using DVR time shifting, but the ad conversion rate is closer to 0 than if the ads were being viewed by someone local, instead of someone on vacation in a hotel room in Rome. Advertisers care about conversion rate, so media providers also care about conversion rate, and anything that lowers their conversion rate lowers the advertising rate they are able to charge.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 months ago | (#46845461)

Hulu's ads are delivered as part of the video stream.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#46845115)

Also, Hulu is ad-supported. If I was one of their 'sponsors', I might be a bit annoyed that Hulu was billing me for ads delivered to countries where I don't even do business.

You should factor that into your advertising budget.

Some percentage of people your ads get shown to aren't interested in your product and never will be, that some percentage don't have enough money to buy it, that some percentage are foreign tourists staying at a friends house who don't speak English and can't even under stand your ad, that some percentage looked away and muted the volume when your ad came on, some percentage ...

really if the idea that some fraction are foreigners jumping through hoops to watch your ads offends you I don't know how you cope.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845361)

If they want to watch my ads for free that fine. However, I don't want to *pay* to have them watch my ads. You are correct that these things are factored into an advertising budget. However if we can figure out how to make the advertising budget 5% more efficient of course we would do that. One of the big selling points of the internet of traditional advertising is the ability to more accurately target people who are interested in your product.

There is no conspiracy. (3, Insightful)

um... Lucas (13147) | about 2 months ago | (#46844877)

Regardless of the users IP, Hulu can track those users and sell their information, VPN or not. They've got those subscribers billing credentials, after all. A VPN is useful if you don't want someone else looking into your connection, but for the site you're visiting, especially one that needs your credit card, a VPN isn't meant to be a protection from them getting your info. Your ISP won't (or at least shouldn't) have a clue that you're visiting Hulu, should you be using a VPN, though.

So no, there is no attack on anonymity here.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46844925)

If they already have all that information, then why do they need to block VPNs? It seems like they could figure it out another way.

But is this just about the paid service?

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845025)

Foreigners can get a prepaid US credit card fairly easily. I'm not sure how easy those are to block, but it's probably at least as much of a moving target as identifying VPNs.

There is no conspiracy; they're just enforcing license terms in a simple and imho reasonable way. I have no idea what "insecure connections" I would be risking by not using a VPN, but it certainly hasn't been a problem for me yet. This just seems like more nerd entitlement syndrome to me. It's Hollywood's content, not yours.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845059)

These license terms are not "reasonable," and nor is the enforcement; they're arbitrary and detrimental. It's usually scumbag copyright holders that force them to do this type of thing to begin with. One thing you can't do is call this stupid shit "reasonable."

There is no conspiracy

Almost every single time that's said about some giant company or government, it turns out to be wrong.

A better thing to do would be to not use Hulu; problem solved.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (5, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845089)

Missed this bit of garbage:

This just seems like more nerd entitlement syndrome to me. It's Hollywood's content, not yours.

Entitlement? So, criticizing a company means you're entitled? You're holding a gun to their head and demanding they change their ways, or saying that you deserve everything? If not, then there is no entitlement; just criticism. If you think criticizing a company for its actions means you have "nerd entitlement syndrome," then you're a god damned idiot, and your definition of "entitlement" is completely worthless. I'm tired of people abusing these terms and using them to describe anyone who says anything they don't like about a company.

As for whether it's "Hollywood's content," I don't believe you can own content, although they certainly try. Problem is, it's not working out for them, and no matter how much people cry and scream, it will never work out. If Hulu is going to kick people off for using VPNs, many of those people will likely just find alternatives, 'legitimate' or not.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845161)

By "entitlement," I was referring to the asserted 'right' to use a VPN to access a service. There is no such right. I could have been more clear.

You should criticize Hulu all you want, but they're the middleman. You're not making a whole lot of sense. Do you agree that the problem is Hollywood's stupid licensing fetishism, or are you still maintaining that this is Hulu's conspiracy to track that you rewatch Strictly Sexual [imdb.com] every Friday night and sell that information to OKCupid and Lubriderm?

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845199)

By "entitlement," I was referring to the asserted 'right' to use a VPN to access a service. There is no such right.

Did someone say there was such a right?

Do you agree that the problem is Hollywood's stupid licensing fetishism, or are you still maintaining that this is Hulu's conspiracy to track that you rewatch Strictly Sexual [imdb.com] every Friday night and sell that information to OKCupid and Lubriderm?

I don't even use Hulu, so it's not my problem, but I think it may very well be both at the exact same time.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845243)

Fair enough, no one said that exactly. Still, Hulu licenses this content and 'pay' for it through advertising agreements. Americans have more money (for now), and are an easier target for advertisers, than other nationalities. That's why Hulu is restricted to Americans, and why for non-Americans to watch Hulu is stealing.

Now, since Hulu has to uphold their end of the contract, they have to keep non-Americans from watching Hulu. Thus they need to block VPNs. Is this clear enough for you? Maybe they are also datamining you, maybe they aren't. Have you read their ToS? Personally, I watch Hulu about twice a year or so, and have much bigger problems than people trying to sell me shit over the internet.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 months ago | (#46845479)

How is it stealing at all? I pay for Hulu Plus, watch the commercials, and when I see something that I think is worth getting, I'll even circumvent yet more unnecessary regional restrictions in order to buy it. The only ads that are literally worthless to me are the ones for cars, Comcast, and not texting and driving in Nevada (actually, that's still relevant- it's illegal here too).

Watch something other than mainstream US TV (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845123)

These license terms are not "reasonable," and nor is the enforcement; they're arbitrary and detrimental.

Then boycott the MPAA. If a TV producer is requiring Hulu to refuse you service, take your eyeballs elsewhere. Instead, you can always watch video under a Creative Commons license, or produce video yourself.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845125)

You're not much for reading comprehension, are you? I didn't say that the license terms were reasonable, I said that given what they are, Hulu's method of enforcement is sensible. No one, apart from a few paranoid freaks, uses a VPN to watch legal non-porn videos unless they're violating region restrictions. You're not entitled to free movies, and Hulu's pricing was collectively negotiated for Americans only. Since Hulu is worth about $1B, and is licensing content from companies worth ~100x that much, it doesn't exactly have a lot of room to negotiate.

Almost every single time that's said about some giant company or government, it turns out to be wrong.

Utter nonsense. The ratio [actual conspiracies]/[paranoid bullshit] on slashdot is damn near zero, though admittedly still not as close as I'd like.

A better thing to do would be to not use Hulu...

I agree; if this bothers you, that is probably the best solution.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845181)

You're not much for reading comprehension, are you? I didn't say that the license terms were reasonable, I said that given what they are, Hulu's method of enforcement is sensible.

I read that and understood it. I do not think it is "sensible," as the license terms themselves are unreasonable, so enforcing them is unreasonable, no matter how effective the enforcement is.

No one, apart from a few paranoid freaks, uses a VPN to watch legal non-porn videos unless they're violating region restrictions.

Yes, people who actually care about being ever so slightly more anonymous are "paranoid freaks." Or, could it be that they use VPNs for other things too,

You're not entitled to free movies

No one said otherwise.

Utter nonsense. The ratio [actual conspiracies]/[paranoid bullshit] on slashdot is damn near zero, though admittedly still not as close as I'd like.

When it comes to privacy, almost every single company works hand-in-hand with the government to give them what they want. Especially the large companies that have tons of data. With the NSA's activities revealed (and you really should've known before), nothing is impossible. I have no clue what use Hulu could have, but the government always manages to surprise me with how far they're willing to go to harass people and invade our privacy.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

koreanbabykilla (305807) | about 2 months ago | (#46845263)

almost every time? Are you fucking retarded? This is the internet. There are many many many more that arent even plausible than known true. Or did you still think the timecube guy is correct?

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845339)

When it comes to accusations that some big company is violating people's privacy or working with the government to do so, it's true far too often.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 months ago | (#46845121)

It's Hollywood's content, not yours.

Actually, its the public content, Hollywood only gets a "temporary" distribution rights. Remember, content is culture and humans have a basic right to access culture. If we did not, then the government could make laws stating who can or can't speak or learn English or talk to each other.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845175)

No it isn't. It's public content once the copyright expires, which is effectively never. This should be changed.

I'm glad everyone agrees that the problem is Hollywood's copyright monopoly and licensing restrictions, and that this isn't a ridiculous conspiracy by Hulu to omg!!!track everyone!!!!

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

Kremmy (793693) | about 2 months ago | (#46845287)

Those changes to copyright were made without the consent of the public. It's one of those things where the letter of the law has become completely disconnected from the public at large. Now I couldn't tell you where the governments got this idea, but they seem to think that you can dictate law to a people and expect them to follow it, to the degree of having law enforcement officers take action to enforce laws that no one honestly believes in. That creates a situation where the people are just plain ignoring the laws because the laws don't honestly have anything to do with them. That creates a situation where the government is literally making shit up and locking people away for it. Which is exactly what kind of activity the copyright cartels are banking on. Oy.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

retchdog (1319261) | about 2 months ago | (#46845365)

Like I said, it should be changed, but honestly, what consent of the public do you want? Our elected representatives support copyright by-and-large, yes, even slashdot's Patron Saint ROONNNNN PAAUULLLLL.

And direct democracy? Do you really think the majority wouldn't support copyright law if sold to them as "more jobs and more movies"?

So, yeah, I don't know if there isn't public consent. Most people seem pretty enthusiastic about it; they just want to have the best of both worlds and break the law for themselves while supporting the general idea.

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#46844931)

I'm pretty sure the people they are blocking aren't actually subscribers...

Re:There is no conspiracy. (1)

orasio (188021) | about 2 months ago | (#46844959)

Regardless of the users IP, Hulu can track those users and sell their information, VPN or not. They've got those subscribers billing credentials, after all. A VPN is useful if you don't want someone else looking into your connection, but for the site you're visiting, especially one that needs your credit card, a VPN isn't meant to be a protection from them getting your info. Your ISP won't (or at least shouldn't) have a clue that you're visiting Hulu, should you be using a VPN, though.

You are mostly right. About your ISP, it would probably be very easy to know what you're up to, by comparing your data usage pattern against other online video users usage. Hulu and other services with heavy traffic probably have a specific traffic usage signature that they can identify, even if you are using a VPN.

Re:I don't think, they worry about non-US users (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#46845093)

If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.

I suspect, it is the anonymity, that they wish to defeat — to be able to track users and sell the information.

Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users

That may be only a secondary concern.

No. Hulu is owned by Hollywood. This is entirely about them controlling content. Hulus biggest problem from the start has been all the disparate interests of all the media companies involved in its ownership and operation. It benefits from sweet deals with those companies, but suffers from their idiotically uncreative ideas about how video on the Internet should work.

The Internet Has No Oceans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844833)

Arbitrary license restrictions sure are great.

Re:The Internet Has No Oceans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844949)

But the fact remains that laws change at the borders.
Hulu has no legal way to provide a global service.
They're not just out screw over the people who've been breaking the rules.
And if you're a legit customer using a VPN, blame the furriners instead of Hulu.

If Netflix is in Canada, why isn't Hulu? (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845063)

Hulu has no legal way to provide a global service.

Hulu could open Hulu Canada and license the rights for Canada from the copyright owners. Hulu could open Hulu Britain and license the rights for Ireland and Great Britain from the copyright owners. Hulu currently happens to choose not to do so.

Re:If Netflix is in Canada, why isn't Hulu? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#46845383)

Some of the stuff that is "copyright" under US law is out of copyright in Canada, the UK, and the EU.

This is why TPP is such a bad idea.

If I want to watch early TV shows, it's none of their business.

Re:If Netflix is in Canada, why isn't Hulu? (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 2 months ago | (#46845449)

Hulu could open Hulu Canada and license the rights for Canada from the copyright owners. Hulu could open Hulu Britain and license the rights for Ireland and Great Britain from the copyright owners. Hulu currently happens to choose not to do so.

Oh please. Or are you being obtuse on purpose?

Hulu is a company created to serve the US market. They have no responsibility to open up open up in every damn country worldwide. There are good reasons they don't - and why no one else really does, either. Netflix is just at snail speed in its addition of international support, even with all the cash and influence they have these days (and often movie licensing is easier with one clear owner than television where rights can be owned by all number of folks, many of whom have no collective bargaining, official or not).

The reason for this is two-fold. One, because licensing agreements are so complex and extremely territorial (one studio might handle US distribution, another studio, even a competitor, may have international rights), you would pretty much literally have to start from scratch for each country. Netflix isn't going one by one in Europe because it's fun, it's because it's like starting up a new licensing business each time. Screw the tech, it's the licensing agreements and making that profitable to purchase for that country to make a service that is the issue.

Two, and just as important, is the fact that the majority of the world who has commercial broadband have caps. Not all, but a good percentage. So while streaming services are all the rage in the US because of our mostly AYCE, one-flat-rate broadband, it's never going to be as popular in other markets, so streaming services have to somehow get licensing agreements for an entire library, and somehow do it cheap enough to make it worth doing business at all with what is always going to be a limited audience to begin with, in each new country.

In the US, we are in the middle of the Golden Age of Streaming - GAS - which, eventually, one runs out of - as we will our streaming fetish. ISP's are just waiting to pull the caps down in the US, they already have been testing it. Once they do, either streaming will die off, or, sweetheart deals get made with Netflix/Hulu/Amazon/etc. with the ISP's, keeping their content out of the caps, which means those services are going to get much much more expensive (no more $7.99 a month, think like ten times that...just like the cable bill you thought was so smart in getting rid of to become a streamer - they are gonna make you pay one way, or another).

As to the story itself, I'm sorry, if you are into "living off the grid" or whatever, and feel you can't view Hulu without a VPN, or you are in hiding and cannot use anything but a VPN, you probably have more important things to worry about than catching up with Bones on Hulu. To those mad about them being evil to non-US residents, blame Hollywood and the mess they have made of rights issues - even more accurately, all the unions and executives that conspire to make all that stuff cost so damn much to make in the first place which make the rights so valuable to control tightly. Does it really take 300 million dollars to make a film? No more than an aspirin costs the hospital $35 or a toilet seat costs the Army $575.

I can't say I applaud Hulu, but I can say I don't blame them. They are a good service and to stay that way, they have to stay within the boundaries of the legal agreements they have made in order to exist. All this "reasonable" vs "unreasonable" is irrelevant - it was a smart business move for them in many ways, even though some folks just won't get that because they are irritated their micro-hack no longer works.

OpenSSL (0, Flamebait)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#46844871)

Hulu hasn't even implemented SSL on its site.

You say that like it's a bad thing...

Re:OpenSSL (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 2 months ago | (#46845071)

I don't even see how that line is relevant to anything. If you're accessing it through VPN, the link from the VPN to Hulu is still going to be unencrypted due to lack of SSL.

Fuck Hulu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844881)

They'll never be getting any of my money. Not even if they invent retroactive immortality and magic. And Chocobos.

How terrible (2, Insightful)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | about 2 months ago | (#46844889)

I mean, it's not as if there's any other sites on the net where you can get streaming video, or canned video, or torrents, or people sharing their favourite shows.

It's not like it takes about 5 mouse-clicks to find an alternate source for practically anything. No, Hulu clearly have everyone completely over a barrel and we must just do everything they say if we're to be allowed to consume their entertainment the way they want us to.

Re:How terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845055)

Although that's true, there are people who are happy to pay for said content via legal channels, and the only restriction is geography. And before anyone says that Hulu is just an innocent tech company being yanked around by Hollywood,

Hulu [wikipedia.org] is a joint venture of NBCUniversal Television Group (Comcast), Fox Broadcasting Company (21st Century Fox) and Disney-ABC Television Group (The Walt Disney Company)

Re:How terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845079)

I mean, it's not as if there's any other sites on the net where you can get streaming video, or canned video, or torrents, or people sharing their favourite shows.

It's not like it takes about 5 mouse-clicks to find an alternate source for practically anything. No, Hulu clearly have everyone completely over a barrel and we must just do everything they say if we're to be allowed to consume their entertainment the way they want us to.

Why bother with the hassle when you can get the same thing elsewhere, free, with no hassle?

And people will just bend over too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844895)

Why do people put up with this bullshit?

If ($service_quality == "shitty")
          then $unsubscribe = 1;

Drop the service. Drop Verizon until they bring back unlimited data or kill overage fees. Drop Comcast for being shitty. Stop using Comcast services like Hulu. Stop buying shitty products from shady companies.

Stop making excuses to keep them around, they won't change unless customers force them to.

Re:And people will just bend over too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844945)

Probably because 99.9% of all users of Hulu don't use a VPN.

Re:And people will just bend over too. (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 2 months ago | (#46844997)

That's probably true for Hulu Plus, but I doubt it's true for freebie Hulu.

Re:And people will just bend over too. (4, Insightful)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46844947)

Right. I'll just drop Comcast and switch to the other ISP with decent speeds in my area: Comcast.

Well, the situation is most certainly not the same with Hulu. It's trivial to find another place to watch such videos, 'legitimate' or not.

0 options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844999)

I don't have Comcast where I live. But I don't understand why people choose to stay with them over using sprint or tmobile, surely they have mobile hotspots available to get you by until things get better?

I had the idea of flash boycotting earlier today:

In a public arena you could state your concerns, state your demands, state the time frame. If the request is ignored when the Due Date comes *BAM* how many subscribers were lost?

One or two boycotters a week won't get much done. But what if companies were to have a large customer base disappear overnight?

It would be like a flash mob but an organized ultimatum for the consumer to the man.

Enjoy your overages (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845035)

Xfinity Internet, the home ISP operated by Comcast, has (or had) a 250 GB per month data cap. Cellular providers' data caps are one to two orders of magnitude smaller than that. If you try to watch a lot of Hulu on that, enjoy your $10 per GB overages.

Choose an area (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845077)

Right. I'll just drop Comcast and switch to the other ISP with decent speeds in my area: Comcast.

Key words: "my area". I know it's not for everyone, but some people have exercised the option of choosing a different area in which to live. Others [slashdot.org] agree [slashdot.org] .

Re:Choose an area (1)

BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) | about 2 months ago | (#46845103)

I'm not going to move from the house I bought and paid for so I can get more options for ISPs. Maybe other people were willing to go that far (or maybe they were moving anyway, and decided they should factor in the number ISPs available in a given area), but I'm not.

Re:Choose an area (1)

lgw (121541) | about 2 months ago | (#46845157)

I would move to get sewer service over septic (yes, subjective), to get reliable electric service over rotating brownouts: utilities matter.

But that's all of them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844979)

I would be relegated to communicating via smoke signal.

My VPN service still works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844907)

My VPN service still works with Hulu

Re:My VPN service still works (3, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 months ago | (#46844937)

I suspect most will continue to work, because they will simply change their IP ranges if providing access to Hulu is at all important for them.

You can't really block someone on the internet reliably with an IP ban. Or well, you can, but the effort you'll need to keep on swatting the changing IP addresses is going to be significant.

Comcast can go die in a fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844909)

fuck off comcast

Welcome to the 21st century (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 2 months ago | (#46844915)

where you can find TV set the size of the Berlin wall with a resolution so high you can't see the pixels up close, so thin they can be hung on the wall and look like paintings, able to display movies in 3D, almost affordable by ordinary people, and that display content controlled by cartels who decide who can watch what, where, how and for how much, like in the middle ages.

Re:Welcome to the 21st century (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844981)

Doesn't bother me. There's nothing worth watching anyway.

Re:Welcome to the 21st century (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#46845097)

How is it controlled by cartels? You can watch video that you have produced or video under a Creative Commons license on nearly any device in any country. So why, seriously, isn't such video good enough as of 2014?

right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845391)

You must have been HILARIOUS in the 1990s, picketing Blockbuster for not stocking the VHS tapes you liked, obviously they were controlling what you're allowed to watch. Or maybe a better analogy would be writing angry Letters to the Editor about how the Blockbuster Corporate Cartel was violating your rights by not opening a store in your tiny podunk town.

What's that? You could have just ordered the movie you wanted and had it delivered by mail? Oh, you can still do that? Right.

/Inter/net (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844927)

You're doing it wrong.

Torrent it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844943)

Why go through all that trouble to give evil companies your money? Just pirate it like a normal person and be done with it.

It's ok i will just find a torrent instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46844965)

I don't mind paying for the things I want to watch. I got netflix before it was available in my country.
I also paid for Hulu and in the end I had to jump to hoops to get it. Got a Roku on a trip to the US and have been running it through a VPN router.

Where I live, most of the shows I want to watch don't reach any of my channels. I think they are too American.
Hell, most of what I watch are really just late night talkshows. :)

But it's ok. Most of them are available as torrents. It was just nice of have it available in a simple box

Privacy? (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 2 months ago | (#46844987)

Generally when you sign up for a paid service with license terms, part of the deal is sacrificing enough of your privacy to be able to sign the deal and identify yourself as a licensed customer (even for a free service) when you try to use it.

Helping Repressive Governments Censor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845009)

Keep up the good fight Hulu! It was be a travesty if content that you give away for free in US got to foreigners living under repressive regimes and corrupted them when instead you could curry favor with those repressive regimes by censoring the content or making a revenue sharing deal with the repressive regimes to help support them financially!

Use your own VPS instead (4, Informative)

dejanc (1528235) | about 2 months ago | (#46845019)

1. Rent a cheap VPS
2. Tunnel connection through it (e.g. via a SOCKS proxy) or set up your own VPN
3. Keep the IP to yourself so you don't get flagged

That's how I get to watch BBC's premiers at the same time people in London do, and if I care about something in the US, I just switch to another VPS.

Re: Use your own VPS instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845375)

That is exactly what I did, still got blocked.

Re: Use your own VPS instead (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 months ago | (#46845397)

A handful of VPS provider's IP are banned. The ones that run popular proxies, and the really huge ones. It is not worth if for them to go after all VPSes. The cost-benefit just doesnt work out.

Cheap VPN Howto (1, Informative)

goruka (1721094) | about 2 months ago | (#46845049)

1) Rent AWS or any other VPS provider in the US, or just ask a friend to give you an account in his box.
2) ssh -D proxyport
3) configure proxy on localhost:proxyport

watch hulu

Re:Cheap VPN Howto (3, Informative)

Punto (100573) | about 2 months ago | (#46845283)

AWS is one of the "VPN" services that were blocked.

Well let me just say that.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845085)

As a foreign user I'm happy Hulu is doing this. I've never understood why people outside the US go out of their way to "get" Hulu let's say honestly. It isn't as you're doing Hulu a favor after all. This is a reality call for all. Either you have access to Hulu in a legit way or you don't. If you don't don't worry about Hulu and just pirate the content. The end result is the same as far as Hulu is concerned. No need to bend over 90 degrees to accomodate a corporation that doesn't give a fuck about you.

Hulu: Not affected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845111)

>Hulu hasn't even implemented SSL on its site

I guess that's one way not to have to patch for Heartbleed...

VPS + OpenVPN (1)

corychristison (951993) | about 2 months ago | (#46845151)

One thing the USA has is cheap Virtual Private Servers. I've seen them as low as $25/year. That plus a little bit of time to read up on setting up OpenVPN or a SOCKS proxy would be worth it.

Not only could you tunnel Hulu, you could tunnel many other services. Maybe store some encrypted backups of important data if you really need to justify the cost.

make your own tunlr clone (2)

Corporate Gadfly (227676) | about 2 months ago | (#46845179)

Rent a cheap VPS and run your own tunlr clone (similar to other commercial DNS-based geo-unlocking services like Unlocator, unblockus, etc.)
http://corporate-gadfly.github... [github.io]

Grrr. (1)

astro (20275) | about 2 months ago | (#46845217)

I am a citizen of the USA, and I pay monthly for services (not Hulu) that I am not easily able to watch in my country of residence, Germany. It's really annoying to have restrictions on content that I PAY FOR.

I don't pay Hulu, I am not interested in their content, but there is a certain other major US-based content network that lulls me to sleep with usually shitty (but occasionally brilliant) movies and television shows.

I did get off the commercial VPN services and roll my own OpenVPN, as suggested by others here - It's not that hard. But I still think this whole thing is obnoxious and stinks. If I wanted to pay USD 7.99 per month for content and another 13 on top for the commercial VPN I was using - all to US companies and as an American citizen, why in the hell would they refuse my money and block my enjoyment of their services?

Re:Grrr. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845317)

For the same reason a British citizen living in Germany can't legally access the BBC online player. Or an Italian citizen living in the US cannot legally access the RAI's (Italy's public broadcasting company) online archives.
Nationality has nothing to do with it, the services provided by Hulu (and the BBC, or the RAI or other boardcasters) are not linked to a citizen. So if you move the service they provide moves with you. The service is restricted geographically so if you're out of that zone that's it. You're not legally entitled to that service, and being an american citizen has nothing to do with it.

Hello, they are douchebags, what is the problem? (3, Informative)

mauriceh (3721) | about 2 months ago | (#46845275)

To quote from Wikipedia:
"Hulu is a joint venture of NBCUniversal Television Group (Comcast),[5] Fox Broadcasting Company (21st Century Fox) and Disney–ABC Television Group (The Walt Disney Company),[6] with funding by Providence Equity Partners, the owner of Newport Television, which made a US$100 million equity investment and received a 10% stake.[7] In October 2012, Providence sold its 10% stake in Hulu.[8]"

So why exactly are you surprised?

BBC (1)

jacobsm (661831) | about 2 months ago | (#46845281)

I'd be really PO'd if the BBC did this. How else can I watch new episodes of Doctor Who prior to them being shown on BBC America?

Re:BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845347)

Glad I'm not the only one doing this. Nothing like watching Doctor Who live.

Nothing like watching Doctor Who live... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845477)

Except maybe watching it live surrounded by lots of die-hard Dr. Who fans.

Watch it live the way the BBC intended (2)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 months ago | (#46845463)

Go to Great Britain and watch it live on a taxed television set.

Oh, you mean how can you watch it without the hassles of international travel? Why didn't you say so in the first place? :^)

If BBC got smart, it would change its international licensing agreements with companies like BBC America to reserve the right to show all future shows world-wide on an on-demand, a la carte basis. It might have to agree to charge a minimum-but-affordable per-episode fee to not completely gut the overseas television market.

If it did this for future seasons of Dr. Who, for example, it might charge a per-episode fee so that if someone legally paid for each episode, they would pay several times what they would if they waited until the end of the season and bought the DVD. Yes, die-hards with money to burn would do it, and yes, people would invite their friends over just like they do now, but at least it would be legal. It would also be priced high enough that there would be a market for cable networks like BBC America to buy the rights to air the shows. Those same die-hards would probably buy the DVDs anyways because they tend to be the kind of people who like the DVD extras and they like to have them on their shelves to show their friends how much of a die-hard they really are.

hulu should be happy anyone is watching (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46845349)

This service makes paying customers watch commercials. When you pay, all you get is 720i def.
But you still have to watch commercials. Bulls***.
Ill stay with Netflix, Thank You.

Most likely a plot by Harper to spy on Canucks (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 months ago | (#46845371)

After all, Canada isn't in the US, and once he crushes the CBC he can impose mind control.

Re:Most likely a plot by Harper to spy on Canucks (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 months ago | (#46845441)

Oh please. So few Canadians actually watch the CBC, that if it didn't have HNIC for years it would have died on it's own. That's what happens when you get outside of the major metropolitan "centres of the universe aka Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa" and get into the rest of the country, where no one pay's attention to the hyper-elitism that the CBC likes to spew. Besides, 90% plus of the programming on the CBC is recycled American programming anyway.

P2P VPN? (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 2 months ago | (#46845385)

Tor would be overkill for this, but is there any lighter-weight p2p based VPN system, ideally where you could select you out node's country or something?

I'd let a Brit route through my home connection a little, if I could get to the BBC sites in return.

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