Netflix’s release of the fourth season of House of Cards has turned into a bitter disappointment for fans in dozens of countries. Due to “legacy” licensing agreements, Netflix is not allowed to show its own original programming in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Hong Kong, causing many people to turn to pirate sources.
Traditionally the movie industry has relied on geographical licensing deals through which movie and TV-show rights are sold to separate parties in various countries.
As a relative newcomer to the business, Netflix’s vision is to do things differently. The company’s aim is to make as much content available globally as it can and is developing several movies and TV-shows in-house to advance this mission.
With this in mind, one would think that geographical copyright restrictions are no longer an issue for Netflix’s own original programming, but unfortunately this is not the case.
Last week Netflix released the latest season of House of Cards, something millions of people were looking forward to. However, Netflix subscribers in dozens of countries are not able to watch it, yet, due to licensing issues.
House of Cards fans in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Hong Kong, Turkey and most of Africa are among those missing out. They can watch the first seasons, but there’s no sign of the new episodes.
Even worse, in some countries House of Cards isn’t available at all.
Needless to say, the missing House of Cards episodes are being met with a mixture of surprise and anger online.