Getting rid of EU territorial restrictions is good for minority languages and creators


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Won’t happen. Understanding ms. Reda’s point would require a majority of MEPs to be able to process syllogisms in their heads. Uh,…without asking that nice man in the Armnani suit first.

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I don’t really understand. If you want to watch Game of Thrones in French, I’m sure somebody has the right to sell you a sub or a dub, and that much makes sense. But how does this hurt independent artists? If I make my own movie with my little laptop, I’m not forced to subscribe to blocking, am I? Maybe nobody’s going to make a French version, or maybe fans will do it. Maybe I’m down with that or maybe not. But how does geoblocking hinder the distribution of my indie film?

It doesn’t hurt the truly “independent” artists, because they will use their own independent distribution system, and they will choose not to use geoblocking.

The theory seems to be:
It could hurt the semi-independent artists who use existing distribution infrastructure. Let’s compare two British artists: one makes a “big budget movie”, the other one a “small indie movie”.
The “big” artist will maximize their profit by negotiating the price for UK distribution and the price for Austrian distribution of the German dub of their work separately.
The “small” artist will sell to some UK-based online streaming service, which I can’t access from Austria. His market in Austria is not big enough to get some Austria-only streaming service to carry it.

The Catalan thing is true, though. There is no legal way to get a stream of a Catalan TV series in Austria.

What I’d really like, though, is some mandatory licensing scheme. I don’t speak Catalan, so I won’t shell out 9.99 Euros a month to subscribe to a Catalan video streaming service. But if there’s a good low-budget programme in Barcelona, I want a Catalan currently living in Finland to be able to add English subtitles to it and resell/redistribute it to me.

I want to the artists, the producers, the guy who made the subtitles, etc., to get about the same amount of money from me that they would have got if an Austrian streaming service I do subscribe to had decided to fund German subtitles for it and add it to their lineup.

I’m consistently part of the “long tail” in my tastes, and the present system concentrates all power and money in the “mainstream”.


Aha. That’s the part I didn’t understand. I wonder if a less restrictive system could be profitable?

I suspect that it could: the present system does make certain large-volume sellers more profitable(because it allows for price discrimination between regions, and price discrimination typically allows the seller to capture more of the surplus value in a transaction, according to Orthodox Economics); but it imposes a substantial transaction cost to ‘open’ a given market:

If you were to impose a common market on everyone, price discrimination ability would decline; but it would be sufficient to have a work on sale anywhere for it to be available to buyers everywhere.

The one interesting thing to see is how vendors would respond to, say, a relatively poor; but nontrivially english-speaking, country: historically, they’d probably release; but throw up roadblocks to arbitrage trading. If doing so were illegal, would they be willing to write off those customers; by selling the english language version only at UK-level prices, or would they attempt some other way of discouraging UK customers from buying the cheaper version?


I suspect the reason for territorial geoblocking in the EU comes from the dozens of collecting societies (a la RIAA or MPAA) that populate the continent.

Both the SGAE in Spain and the GEMA in Germany want a part of the cake. If someone purchases a work in Catalan from a Spanish website from Germany who gets the “author’s rights management” share? It is less about hurting sales or independent authors and 100% more about greedy corporations who prefer to block content before not profiting from it.

Did you know that if you play independent American music not affiliated to the RIAA or other collecting societies in Spain in a bar or a wedding, the SGAE (the local RIAA) has the rights to demand you to pay performance fees (Sometimes up to 3000€!) but yet they have no obligation to pay anything to the artist if they don’t contact the society asking for that particular year reproduction rights and even then they have to pay a fee?

Yes, I know, it’s wicked. Greedy. Plain EVIL.

I don’t know if other European collecting societies are equally greedy and assholish, but I suspect it is the case…


I think it is naive to deny that an end to geoblocking will do anything than further the anglosaxon language hegemony and undermine language diversity. It will also weaken the negotiating powers of rightsholders. Now, I am not in favour of geoblocking but we need means to compensate for the inherent diversity loss such as language quota.

The plethora of languages is maybe good for cultural richness but poor for actual communication. I am an ESL but would happily write off my own first language into the history scrap heap if it means less obstacles in communication with others.

I don’t care if it is English or Russian or Chinese but one language for all is a fundamentally good thing (see the network effect). The large areas that speak common languages now (English, Spanish, French) are one glaring positive of colonialism.

If speakers of a less common language, when barriers to access to material in other languages are removed, choose it some or all of the time, aren’t we edging dangerously into treating them as hosts for their interesting language, rather than people, in some of our concern over preserving it?

There are plenty of flagrantly unethical ways to eliminate a language; and we would do well to remember that they’ve been deployed with zeal from time to time; but it isn’t terribly obvious that “access to stuff in other languages” one of them. If anything, isn’t curtailing such access likely to be more coercive?


3000€ seems a lot, either it’s a big venue or SGAE is really crazy.
I just googled a bit and it seems that in Austria, the fee for playing music in a bar with 70 daily visitors is about 50€ per month. Which is entirely reasonable once you accept that all the music you already paid for has a sticker that says “not licensed for public performance”.
Compare that to having to track down the rightsholders for every song you want to play yourself, and negotiating a deal with them (probably for about 10 cents + lawyer costs + a modest processing fee).

The system has failed to adapt to things like Creative Commons or the Internet, but if this were the eighties, I’d be 100% in favour of that.

Well… 3000€ was for a small bar… they pretended to charge 43.179€ for a wedding! But the judge was sane enough and dismissed the charge.

SGAEs revenue was and still is crazy, they bough for themselves palaces (literal palaces) all over the country just because. :confused:

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