NZ global mode ISPs to be sued for copyright infringement

A cadre of New Zealand media companies is progressing legal action over alleged copyright infringement against two NZ ISPs that have said they will continue to offer global mode.

Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ are moving forward with their threats to sue New Zealand internet service providers (ISPs) that offer so-called "global mode" virtual private network (VPN) access to geoblocked media services as part of broadband plans offered to consumers.

After the media companies sent out cease-and-desist letters to a collection of ISPs earlier this month, two ISPs -- Call Plus and Bypass Network Services -- said they would continue to offer global mode to customers.

As a consequence, the media companies said in a joint statement that their only option is to take the disagreement into court in order to shut down what they call "unlawful" services.

"We are confident that our legal position is strong," the media companies said. "Companies who profit by marketing and providing access to content they haven't paid for are acting unlawfully and in breach of copyright.

"Call Plus and Bypass Network Services have both sought further information from us regarding the unlawfulness of Global Mode, which we have provided in good faith. However, our position has not changed, and unless they remove the unlawful service, we will begin court action in the next few days."

The media companies said they have been in contact with studios and content owners to see whether they want to join the court action.

The legal actions come as Fairfax reported that HBO has begun cutting off access for Australians and other non-US residents to its HBO Now service.

Users will be cut off on April 21, it is reported. Most Australian users signed up with a local credit card.