Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
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I think there is some merit to the wiki link regarding anti-circumvention. I agree the focused mainly on using technology for unauthorized copying or distribution. Nonetheless, VPN are a use of technology in use to circumvent protections build in to control access--IP locations, GPS locations, etc.
I think the interesting part of it had to do with advertising ways to circumvent those protections. There are plenty of USA based VPN providers. A lot use terms such as "unlock the internet" with pictures of Hulu, Facebook, Netflixx, and so on. This may still be illegal, but I assume the Hulu or the NFL would have gone after the, at least US based, companies on the advertising. The sports leagues, such as the NFL, go after sites such as JustinTV, FrontRowSports very aggressively for redistributing events, and even more aggressively on key events; see linked article post earlier on site seizures. I don't think they have a good argument about distribution since VPNs can be used for other points, and do not control how the service is used. They usually have something in the TOS about using it for copyright infringement as well, based on what country the VPN is headquartered
We know companies are concerned with the circumvention with the use of VPN because they do have significant language in the TOS regarding black outs and circumventing them. It could be the case it may not be a top priority if using their services at home only since it's being paid for and not used for public display. Not likely, it's most likely the lack of public display doesn't expose them to whoever monitors that stuff. And the lack of having people caught and resources to challenge these laws.
One thing is certain, the sports leagues are going to protect as much as they can the contrent distributions because of the amount of money they get from their various TV contracts. Think about how much money the NFL gets from DirectTV, it's over a billion dollars. They're not risking those contracts at the end of the day.