Netflix turning a blind eye to 'back door' Australian use, says Quickflix

The CEO of Quickflix has called on Netflix to "play by the rules" and to stop what it calls a breach of copyright by allowing "back door" access to its service in Australia.

Claire Reilly Former Principal Video Producer
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
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Claire Reilly
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Quickflix CEO Stephen Langsford has accused Netflix of employing "back door" tactics and giving consumers "unauthorised" access to content in order to generate revenue in Australia.

Langsford's comments came in an open letter addressed to US-based Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. In it, the Quickflix executive calls on the US entertainment company to "play by the rules".

The letter follows similar comments made by Langsford in July, calling on Netflix to ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="0557299a-8cc1-4615-b36b-2d317bd08515" slug="quickflix-ceo-tells-netflix-to-bring-it-on" link-text="" section="news" title="Quickflix CEO tells Netflix to bring it on" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"0557299a-8cc1-4615-b36b-2d317bd08515","slug":"quickflix-ceo-tells-netflix-to-bring-it-on","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"tech-industry"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Tech Industry","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> ; the letter was also released with a document comparing the offerings of both Quickflix and Netflix, saying that the latter is not legally available in Australia.

According to figures presented by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the recent Online Copyright Infringement Forum in Sydney, of all the Australians with at least one media or rental subscription, more than a quarter use Netflix.

Among his charges, Langsford said Netflix allowed Australian consumers to breach copyright, of not obtaining legal Australian rights to content and of turning a blind eye to VPN usage. By comparison, he said Quickflix had obtained Australian rights to content and was meeting "all necessary security requirements" for its service, which he said was "by far the most accessible streaming service" in Australia.

If you want Netflix to compete in Australia come through the front door.

Instead you're currently enjoying a free ride in Australia ignoring unauthorised 'back door' access to your US service and thereby taking revenue away from local services which are investing to service the local market and endeavouring to provide choice and competition to consumers.

Netflix not only knowingly collects revenues from subscribers with unauthorised access to your US service, investing nothing in the Australian market nor paying for Australian rights to the content you make available, but also tacitly encourages Australian consumers to inadvertently breach the copyright of the content owners.

According to Langsford, by continuing to "filch revenues" in Australia, Netflix is damaging the market, stifling "strong local competition" and preventing services such as Quickflix from competing "as vigorously as they could" -- ultimately leading to less compelling content and higher prices for Australian consumers.

"We challenge Netflix to play by the rules. It's how we do it here in Australia," he said.

"Stop turning a blind eye to the VPN services acting as a gateway to your service. Be honest and face up to the issue of unauthorised access to your US service.

"Have the courage to limit your service only to the territories where you have legally obtained the rights to operate by abiding by the geo-filtering obligations required by your content license agreements. And do so immediately."