back to article 'I don't NEED to pay' to watch football, thunders EU digi-czar

Europe’s new digital chief’s passion for ending geo-blocking has been explained: he’s missing out on his beloved Estonian football. The European Commission’s VP for the digital economy and former Estonian prime minister, Andrus Ansip, has reiterated his determination to end so-called geo-blocking in every speech he has made …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Good luck on that one.

    Murdoch and similar appear to have it all sewn up, dammit. I can't even watch HOME internationals for rugby on free-to-view terrestrial telly. It's a bloody outrageous situation which NEVER should have been permitted to happen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good luck on that one.

      "It's a bloody outrageous situation which NEVER should have been permitted to happen."

      Why not? I don't want to pay for sport that I don't watch, so I'm quite happy that it is available to you via subscription services. I'd be equally happy if it was Free To Air on one of the commercial channels, but as it isn't that presumably reflects the fact that the effective PAYG advertising revenues on terrestrial FTA broadcasts aren't sufficient to match the sports industry's costs.

      The low levels of government funding for sport hardly put it in a position to mandate that the sports industry should either give its content away for free, nor do the levels of interest justify adding the bill to the telly-tax and then force-feeding the content to all and sundry.

      You want it, you pay for it. And ideally we'd have a similar approach to BBC shit like Antiques Roadshow and Songs of Praise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: Good luck on that one.

        It's bloody outrageous because they're international games. Regular league games, yes, I don't like the idea of pay per view, but understand why it's there, but I seem to recall that a few politicians were against allowing national games to be made PPV. Look at it this way: Scotland and Wales are able to watch their internationals live on free telly, and are laughing down ther respective national kit at us because we can't. So, why can't we have our international games shown live on free telly in England? When you have a rational answer that doesn't fall foul of the libel and slander laws, let me know.

        1. YetAnotherPasswordToRemeber

          Re: Good luck on that one.

          I have to agree with the sentiment that international events, be they football, rugby or any other sport should be on free to view TV, although in these modern times, we're not allowed to be patriotic in case it upsets someone!

          The problem with the rugby union events is down to the RFU who have a deal with Sky for matches at Twickenham, so in the 6 nations you'll be able to watch England as long as they're not at home. $deity knows if that's going to be the case for the world cup next year, but I do hope it's not.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good luck on that one.

            Actually not true, all 6 nations games are protected so have to be shown free to air.

            The only England rugby games on Sky are the Autumn internationals as ITV have the rights to the RU World Cup

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good luck on that one.

          Whereas Scotland football fans can't watch their international matches on FTA as they are all on Sky and BT. England has the luxury of "protected" status (along with the likes of the World Cup - something unlikely to trouble us any time soon - Wimbledon et al) meaning it has to be FTA. Another case of us subsidising you lot down south (Crossrail, HS2, etc, etc...)

          1. FlatSpot
            Trollface

            Re: Good luck on that one.

            I wasn't aware that Scotland played football, certainly never seen them in the world cup play offs

            1. Gordon 11

              Re: Good luck on that one.

              I wasn't aware that Scotland played football, certainly never seen them in the world cup play offs
              I'm probably older than you, then, as I remember them in Argentina '78.

              "C'mon Archie, c'mon" being the memorable touchline coaching from Ally McLeod.

              1. alexmcm

                Re: Good luck on that one.

                Ah yes, and the Scotland world cup song:

                We're on the march with Ally's army

                We're going to the Argentine,

                And we'll really shake them up,

                when we win the world cup,

                cos Scotland are the greatest football team!!!

                We're representing Britain, And we're gaunny do or die,

                England cannae dae it, 'Cos they didnae qualify!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good luck on that one.

            "Another case of us subsidising you lot down south (Crossrail, HS2, etc, etc...)"

            Aye, that's right, with your high volume, high earning, tax paying northern population, generating all that income...

            Oh, wait a sec....

            1. Calum Morrison

              Re: Good luck on that one.

              "Aye, that's right, with your high volume, high earning, tax paying northern population, generating all that income..."

              To reuse an old canard, even if you discount all the income we're creating from oil because it gets lumped into UK revenues rather than Scottish, the cash we get from the UK is then clawed back to pay for so-called "infrastructure" projects as HS2 (a line that will stop 200 miles south of us), Crossrail (a line that starts and stops 400 miles south of us) and a third runway for Heathrow (a road that will drain even more from us). Remind me how much you lot are paying for the new Forth Crossing (the what, I hear you ask?). Ah fuck it, you subsidise us and that's all we ever need to know.

        3. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Good luck on that one.

          So, why can't we have our international games shown live on free telly in England?

          Firstly, for the important ones, you can. It is only friendlies which Sky have the license to. 6N or WC is FTA.

          Secondly, the reason you can't watch them is because your union decided to sell the rights to Murdoch.

        4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Good luck on that one.

          I don't understand your argument at all. There are many international events that don't get broadcast *at all*, let alone on FTA telly. Why should an international football match be more important than an international chess match, international synchronised swimming contest or the World aerobatic championship?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good luck on that one.

        "match the sports industry's costs"

        "match the sports industry's demands "

        Fixed

      3. Mister Justin

        Re: Good luck on that one.

        "Why not? I don't want to pay for sport that I don't watch, so I'm quite happy that it is available to you via subscription services."

        Oh, this old canard. Isn't this what every "individualist" complains about wrt taxes? "Oh, I don't use public schools, I shouldn't pay." "I don't drive, so I shouldn't pay for roads." "I don't take the bus, why do I pay for transit taxes?" etc etc etc.

        If there is a tax / levy / whatevs charged on a public good, you should have access to it regardless of your location. If Mr Robot pays Estonian taxes which are hoovered up by the EU and broadcast freedom is part of it, why should he NOT have his access regardless of his location in the EU?

        Granted, Football is nowhere NEAR as important and public infrastructure / services, but if there is a payment from the populace to the rights-owners via any government levy, then geolocation blocking is just another "tax" on the use of said service and should be repealed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good luck on that one.@ Mister Justin

          "Oh, this old canard. Isn't this what every "individualist" complains about wrt taxes? "

          This is called a straw man, and is a popular argument of the hard of thinking.

          The rights do not belong to government to assign, because they aren't paying for the industry. It's paid for by sponsors and advertisers, and to a lesser extent fans. It is owned (often) by foreign oligarchs, and it's their collective choice as to who they sell the rights to. Geolocation blocking is a legitimate way of maximising the property rights of the owners, in exactly the same way that luxury goods makers are legally allowed to block grey imports. I'm particularly impressed at your bizarre logic that says "if there is a tax on a good, you should have access to it regardless of your location". What are you smoking?

          You might not like the outcome, but you must be particularly stupid if you think that it is the place of government to demand that you have access to FTA premier league football.

          1. Mister Justin

            Re: Good luck on that one.@ Mister Justin

            ""if there is a tax on a good, you should have access to it regardless of your location". What are you smoking?"

            My point is that in common marketplace, if you pay a tax on a service, and that service is part of the common marketplace, you should have access to said service within that marketplace.

            With respect to broadcast rights; if there is a levy on broadcasting, which is paid to the rights holders, then you should have access to said broadcast. If there is an eu levy, then that access should be available in the common marketplace without additional charges.

          2. John Tserkezis

            Re: Good luck on that one.@ Mister Justin

            "Geolocation blocking is a legitimate way of maximising the property rights of the owners, in exactly the same way that luxury goods makers are legally allowed to block grey imports"

            They're not the same at all. Blocked grey imports mean only that you have a lesser choice of which vendor to buy shit from - but you can still buy it.

            Geolocation blocking is a case of "fuck you Charlie, you ain't getting shit".

          3. Phil Lord

            Re: Good luck on that one.@ Mister Justin

            "The rights do not belong to government to assign"

            No, the rights do not *belong* to the government. Rather these ownership rights are *given* to the corporations by the people, with the hope that these corporation will use these rights appropriately. Ultimately, its up to the people to decide how these rights work. So, for instance, we have decided that these rights do not allow you to use monopoly power; we have decided that, for example, you cannot restrict sales based on these rights to people based on their race, or their sex. If a corporation tries to do that, then they will end up in court.

            Currently, you are correct that geolocation is a legitimate use of those rights. But the people and the government can decide at any point that this is not legitimate. A perfectly reasonable thing to do, I think, in the same way that it is the phone companies no longer have the right to charge extortionate fees to people within the EU who come from different countries.

          4. Stu Mac

            Re: Good luck on that one.@ Mister Justin

            Err no Geo Blocking runs contrary to the ethos off the EU, it must be treated as a single economic area.

            You might argue for Region blocking, although I think that should be discouraged in Internet terms.

        2. unwarranted triumphalism

          Re: Good luck on that one.

          Are you claiming that football is a public good?

      4. Gordon 11

        Re: Good luck on that one.

        Why not? I don't want to pay for sport that I don't watch...
        So you reckon that the entire FTA TV schedule should bow to your personal whim?

        I don't watch Eastenders, but I'm more than happy to help fund it for those that do as I will watch other programmes which they don't watch. I don't expect a personal service

      5. John 156
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Good luck on that one.

        "I'd be equally happy if it was Free To Air on one of the commercial channels, but as it isn't that presumably reflects the fact that the effective PAYG advertising revenues on terrestrial FTA broadcasts aren't sufficient to match the sports industry's costs."

        Sports industry's costs have skyrocketed since SKY decided that it wanted the most popular international sports irrespective of costs, Murdoch knowing that fans would pay whatever he demanded. Whether sportsman are worth more than banksters, pop stars, slebs, generally, is a moot point, but the only winners are shareholders of SKY and manufacturers of Italian sports cars.

    2. Dr Stephen Jones
      Joke

      Re: Good luck on that one.

      You forgot the free beer.

      It's bloody outrageous I can't get beer for free either. Who let THAT happen?

  2. Pete 2

    > Europe’s new digital chief’s passion for ending geo-blocking has been explained: he’s missing out on his beloved Estonian football. ... I find it’s blocked, blocked, blocked!

    Well, yes. That's the thing about other countries. Why does he assume that doing this is "stealing", when he reckons that paying his (Estonian) licence / taxes should entitle him to watch the programmes he wants to?

    BTW, there are more ways than setting up a VPN.

    1. Meerkatjie

      What I gather from the article is that if he was in Estonia he would be able to watch his football because he pays his taxes there. But since he no lives in another country within the EU and still pays his Estonian taxes he feels that he should be able to still access his football.

      I can see his point - it feels a bit like Apple telling me that the book I bought from them in the UK can't be read while I am in Australia. I've rented the right to read the book, the method of delivery is unchanged so no extra costs are required but due to unknown quirks in geographic location the book is not allowed to be read. (Note this is an example not an actual occurrence)

      1. Stretch

        Ah. You can see the problem there. YOU PAID FUCKING CRAPPLE FOR SOMETHING YOU FOOL.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, you mean

        "can see his point - it feels a bit like Apple telling me that the book I bought from them in the UK can't be read while I am in Australia. I've rented the right to read the book, the method of delivery is unchanged so no extra costs are required but due to unknown quirks in geographic location the book is not allowed to be read"

        Ah, a lot like regional coding on DVDs'???

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

          Re: Oh, you mean

          "Ah, a lot like regional coding on DVDs'???"

          Yeah, but you see that (possibly because of the European common market), the whole of Europe is region 2, so if you want to buy your DVDs in Amazon UK, ship them to somewhere else in Europe and watch them there, you can. However, they do try to bend the rules by not putting sound tracks in certain languages; e.g. forcing you to buy the Spanish version of the DVD at 18€ instead of buying the UK version for £4.50.

          What he's complaining about is things like Sky saying that you can't be a subscriber if you don't live in the UK (even if you have the necessary 3m dish!), or things like iPlayer saying bog-off because you aren't using a VPN.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Oh, you mean

            The TV company wants it to be a common market when it comes to basing its head office in Ireland or declaring VAT in Luxemburg but wants to charge different customers in different Eu countries.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Pint

              Re: Oh, you mean

              re: Yet Another Anonymous coward

              You have hit the nail on the head.

        2. Gordon 11

          Re: Oh, you mean

          "can see his point - it feels a bit like Apple telling me that the book I bought from them in the UK can't be read while I am in Australia.
          Possibly,

          But when he is in Brussels does he refrain from watching FTA Belgian TV on the grounds that he's only paying in Estonia?

          1. Sven Coenye

            Re: Oh, you mean

            The only FTA TV left in Belgium are the 3 government run channels. One serious people channel, one popular and one for the tikes. Neither comes anywhere near the levels provided by the BBC. If he likes cyclocross, he may be in luck. For anything else, not so much.

      3. Extra spicey vindaloo

        BBC does this too,

        I had a BBC Worldwide license so I could use the worldwide version of Iplayer outside of the UK. But you can't use it inside the UK. Bloody insane

        1. veti Silver badge

          I am 100% in agreement with Mr Robot on this, and I'm delighted someone with some public voice is fighting the good fight.

          I'm fed up with not being able to access BBC programs just because I live abroad. There's no technical reason why iPlayer can't work for me, and I'm perfectly willing to pay a subscription if that's what it takes... but I don't have the option. There's no technical, legal or financial reason for this - it's purely a matter of "f*** off, you filthy foreigners".

          Even the radio podcasts (which we are permitted, as some sort of sop) are subject to arbitrary removal from their servers, and invariably make a point of telling me how nice iPlayer is. Thanks.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            It's also because the BBC doesn't make programs it buys them.

            I make pop-idol-bake-off-challenge-in-the-attic-on-ice and I offer ti to the BBC for X pounds and Canada for $Y and Australia for $Z - if the BBC says it is going to charge people in Australia and Canada to watch it on iPlayer then I'm going to charge the BBC X+Y+Z to make up for my lost revenue.

            But it does get silly - I can't download an episode of some 30year old radio comedy because there is a bit of music in the background that the BBC don't have international rights to - or they don't want to spend a year of lawyers and 1000s to find out who owns it, played on it, arranged it, etc etc

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            'There's no technical reason why iPlayer can't work for me, and I'm perfectly willing to pay a subscription if that's what it takes... but I don't have the option. There's no technical, legal or financial reason for this - it's purely a matter of "f*** off, you filthy foreigners".'

            The reason is that it's the Beeb. You're confusing it with a competent organisation.

          3. LucreLout Silver badge

            There's no technical reason why iPlayer can't work for me, and I'm perfectly willing to pay a subscription if that's what it takes...

            Correct, there is no technical reason. However, it would be a significant risk to the BBC to launch a subscription service for content.

            Risk #1 - If subscription works, the UK public might, quite rightly, tell the beeb to jog on come licence fee time. The BBC know they have a bias problem, and that is why they refused to publish the Balen report, but they persistently refuse to address their problems - why then should anyone be compelled to pay for BBC if they choose to watch Sky or ITV / others instead?

            Risk #2 - If nobody subscribes, it would evidence that the corporations best days were truly behind it, inevitably leading to calls for a signficant reduction in both the licence fee, and size of the BBC.

            In the interests of full disclosure, I love the BBC. It produces/commissions a great many high quality programs. However, I stopped consuming any and all forms of BBC news a long time ago, after reaching the conclusion it was more or less Guardian[1] TV, with echoes of Pravda.

            [1] The Guardian: Wrong about everything, all the time.

  3. Nifty

    If you can legally transport a copyrighted paperback book across borders then you should be able to transport any copyrighted data - so long as you've bought the content legally somewhere.

    1. Dr Stephen Jones

      Good point. But somebody has to make it available in Estonia first.

      No, wait. They do:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_4_%28Estonia%29

      Looks like another Euro moron needs educating.

  4. cs94njw

    To be honest, what I feel more sorry for, is that even though people pay through the nose for access to watch football/rugby/etc, they still get adverts!! Cheeky fokkers!

    If I pay a premium to watch content, I don't want to get advertised at as well :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bone of Contention

      This is my annoyance with Sky as well, not only are they getting paid whopping great wodges of cash to air the adverts by the advertisers, they're also getting paid a significant amount by those that want their TV services, think wrinkly Rupert et al getting Eiffel Towered with rolls of cash.

      1. asdf

        Re: Bone of Contention

        Well those insane transfer fees and salaries for the players have to come from somewhere. At least here in the states a pretty sizable chunk of the pro sports pie (forget corrupt college sports) does goes to the players as it should (dirty unions the owners say).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bone of Contention

          "Well those insane transfer fees and salaries for the players have to come from somewhere"

          No, they really don't.

  5. Stretch

    Iterating: 1s+0s. Worth = £0. Amount of right anyone has to be paid for anything = 0%.

    Get paid in advance or STFU.

  6. Roger Greenwood

    "Information doesn't want to be free"

    by Cory Doctorow.

    Of course most of you will already know about this, perhaps someone could give a spare copy to Andrus?

  7. Fihart

    I would not watch sport if they paid me.

    Too much bleedin' sport on radio and telly.

    Whoever dreamed up Radio5 Live as a sport and talk channel ignored the facts that;

    a) sport is largely visual.

    b) the sort of people who like talk radio are not always those who follow sports.

    And is it really necessary for footie commentators to go into screaming mode every time the ball approaches the goal ? It's obviously fake -- and stressful to the listener.

    1. Simon Buttress

      Re: I would not watch sport if they paid me.

      I disagree. While the visual nature of sports can be compelling, good commentary can be gripping stuff. And of course being non-visual it doesn't mean you're glued to the TV/phone/monitor and can be up and around doing other things enjoying the commentary in the background.

    2. asdf

      Re: I would not watch sport if they paid me.

      Live sports are becoming more and more loved by media companies because its one of the forms of entertainment that loses the most value when its time shifted, so less people remove the commercials later and some of their $$$.

    3. Gordon 11

      Re: I would not watch sport if they paid me.

      And is it really necessary for footie commentators to go into screaming mode every time the ball approaches the goal ? It's obviously fake...
      Not if you are interested in sport. It's all about anticipation....

      And if you don't like it, why are you listening to it?

      PS: Cricket on the radio (TMS) is exteremely visual, at least in the imagination (if you have one). It's also legal to listening to it whilst driving (unlike watching TV).

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: I would not watch sport if they paid me.

        Cricket on the radio is positively dangerous for driving:

        My memory goes back to the days of the first shirt pocket sized transistor radios in the early '60s my cricket fan mates listening to John Arlott being poetic about googlies being slipped to silly mid on (or something like that). On a lunch hour at school in the summer, the sound of a cricket commentary was the best way to get in forty winks before going back to sleep inducing lessons.

  8. xyz

    Any sport I want to watch...

    I watch without paying. You can usually find another non UK channel either broadcasting via the internet or a satellite. OK, the commentary might be in Russian or Spanish or Chinese but the pleasures of watching it (legally) without getting the Murdoch tax lubricant out and bending over are well worth it.

    Mind you, if I'd paid for Estomian football, I'd bloody well want to watch it wherever I was and sod what my IP address was. Having spent the last week fighting with "online" banking I can well understand the frustrations of 21st century expectations meeting 20th business models.

    ooh, ooh, mods whilst we're at it, can we get shot of those "loud" adverts. When you've got umpteen tabs open and your laptop starts giving you the full surround sound experience it is bloody annoying.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's never a problem until it affects politicians.

  10. LDS Silver badge

    I wonder where these people were when DVD region codes were allowed...

    ... which actually made impossible to see contents you paid for if you moved to another "region". All these regulations are there to ensure media companies can maximize their revenues against honest customers. Dishonest ones have no problem to watch pirated contents...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: I wonder where these people were when DVD region codes were allowed...

      If you move to another region take your old player hardware with you - so you have a lot of DVD players - does that matter?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People PAY to watch sport?

    Wow.

    It's almost impossible to avoid sport of some kind on TV.

    I can't imagine paying for it as well.

    [Troll icon]

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As was hinted at in the story

    V_ery

    P_robably

    N_aughty

  13. Mark 32

    MFIS

    Anything that means the TV companies don't spend hundreds of millions on Football licences, which WE have to pay for is a good thing. Players wage will go down and they 'may' play for the love and glory rather than the next Bentley.

  14. deive

    "showing that he is at least familiar with VPN tunnelling" - this show that he know NOTHING about VPNs - as a VPN would allow him to watch his Estonian TV from anywhere, whereas I think he is talking about sky cards that can decrypt all the paid channels...

  15. Chris 239

    Business want's to have its cake and eat it.

    If business want the freedom of movement in the EU so they can go and hire the cheapest labour from anywhere in theEU then we the consumer should be free to buy what we want from anywhere in the EU

    1. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: the consumer should be free to buy what we want from anywhere in the EU

      We are.

      That's the whole point of free movement of goods across the EU.

      Nabbed from the European Commission Website:

      "One of the “four freedoms” of the Single Market is the free movement of goods. Member States may restrict the free movement of goods only in exceptional cases, for example when there is a risk resulting from issues such as public health, environment, or consumer protection."

      If you followed the link at the bottom of the article, it's this EU law that scuppered the conviction of the Pub Landlady and opened up the floodgates for every pub in the land to have Irish Setanta Sports for the 3pm Premier League games that Sky and BT Sports cannot show. Simply speaking, it is illegal to stop Setanta Ireland (and Sky Italia etc...) from selling their product wherever the hell they want in the EU.

      What The Robot is actually saying is "I bought the rights to this content in Estonia from $TVCompany* that means, if $TVCompany want to provide me the goods, in this case a subscription, in Belgium, they're entitled to by law."

      * Yes this still applies if it's a State owned or tax funded TV Company. Over here the BBC sell me the content by way of the TV License, even if it's a non-negotiable TV Tax levied in law.

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