We Are Sorry This Video Is Not Available in Your Country: An Ethical Analysis of Geo-blocking Audiovisual Online Content

We Are Sorry This Video Is Not Available in Your Country: An Ethical Analysis of Geo-blocking Audiovisual Online Content




Geo-blocking is currently a frequently discussed issue in the EU. One of the basic principles of the functioning of the EU is the internal market. However, a digital single market has not yet been created in Europe. Instead of one market, the EU has 27 separate digital markets. The creation of digital single market in Europe is hindered mainly by representatives of the media industries: primarily film producers and distributors. During this event, Dr. Pavel Zahrádka conducts an ethical analysis of the moral conflict over access to premium audiovisual online content (films, TV shows), which is currently regulated by geo-blocking in the domain of digital film distribution. The possibilities of watching a film via an audiovisual online service or subscribing to this service are often geographically conditioned based on the consumer’s point of internet access. He first identifies the stakeholders of this conflict, which are the rights holders on the one hand, that is creators, producers and distributors of audiovisual content, and the consumers of audiovisual content on the other. He will also identify their interests and moral intuitions based on interviews with representatives of the interested parties and by conducting an analysis of their position papers on the Digital Single Market strategy initiatives presented by the European Commission in the years 2015 to 2018. The moral rights and interests of stakeholders are then balanced and specified. The result of this reflective equilibrium procedure is the proposal of four ethical principles that set out the conditions under which the geo-blocking of audiovisual content vis-à-vis video-on-demand services is either ethically justified or unjustified. The event will be moderated by AU professor Aram Sinnreich.

Meet Our Speakers:

Pavel Zahrádka is an associate professor in the Department of Media Studies, Palacký University, Olomouc. He specializes in the ethics of digital media and the impact of copyright on audiovisual industry practices. In 2015 and 2016, with Reinold Schmücker (University of Münster) and Thomas Dreier (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), he led the international research group Ethics of Copying at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University. He also works as an analyst for the Czech Cinematography Fund (Prague), and is currently a principal investigator on a research project investigating the impact of the Digital Single Market strategy on the Czech audiovisual industry (funded by the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, 2018–21).

Dr. Aram Sinnreich is a Professor and chair of the Communication Studies division at American University’s School of Communication. Sinnreich’s work focuses on the intersection of culture, law and technology, with an emphasis on subjects such as surveillance, critical data studies, intellectual property, remix culture, and music. He is the author of three books: Mashed Up (2010), The Piracy Crusade (2013), and The Essential Guide to Intellectual Property (2019). He has also written for publications including The New York Times, Billboard, Wired, The Daily Beast, and The Conversation. Prior to coming to AU, Sinnreich served as Associate Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, Director at media innovation lab OMD Ignition Factory, Managing Partner of media/tech consultancy Radar Research, Visiting Professor at NYU Steinhardt, and Senior Analyst at Jupiter Research. He is also a bassist and composer, and has played with groups and artists including progressive soul collective Brave New Girl, dub-and-bass band Dubistry, punk chanteuse Vivien Goldman, and Ari-Up, lead singer of the Slits. Sinnreich was a finalist in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and a semi-finalist for the 2020 Bernard/Ebb songwriting award.

Co-Sponsored by:

AU School of Communication

Internet Society, Greater Washington DC Chapter

The event is finished.


Oct 07 2021


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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