Netflix does not believe it should pay the FPB’s online content licence fee, as it is a service offered through the global web.
Netlifx’s comments follow the FPB’s publication of new draft tariff regulations – which propose price increases for classifying films, series, and games.
The FPB currently charges R795,000 for a “licensing fee for online distribution”. In February 2017, several online distributors refused to pay the fee – including Microsoft and Netflix.
Under the new regulations, the FPB wants to charge online distributors an annual fee per title on their platform. Netflix’s 2,005 movies and 691 series would cost it R1,076,979.
Netflix doesn’t believe the FPB has a right to regulate the Internet, and the content found on it.
However, Netflix said it does try to be a good player when it comes to local age restrictions – and as a rule it will comply with legitimate local regulations.
It will also attempt to work with local regulators to self-rate content. This allows Netflix to take a nimble approach to age restrictions.
“The whole benefit of Netflix is being able to watch our content anywhere in the world at the same time as everyone else,” said Netflix’s head of corporate communications for EMEA, Yann Lafargue.
If every piece of content Netflix plans on releasing has to be watched by committees of censors, global simultaneous releases won’t be possible.
For this reason, Netflix is conducting self-rating trials in markets like Australia and is open to similar discussions elsewhere.
“Over-regulation is never something good, at least not for users.”
It can also cause price increases, and may result in content creators finding it impossible to please all ratings bodies around the world.
There will always be someone who disagrees or finds fault with content, and if all those dissenting voices are listened to, it will impact on the freedom to create, said Lafargue.