Netflix Access

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Digity
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Netflix Access

Post by Digity » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:28 pm

I recently learned how to access Netflix from different countries by changing DNS settings. This allows you to see the content available in Netflix from that country. I learned that this kind of violated the terms of service with Netflix and I'm wondering about the ethical implications. Is it considered theft since I'm viewing content that wasn't intended for me? Since I learned about this I've stopped accessing it. To be honest, I kind of want to keep accessing the cross border content, but don't like the idea of violating a precept to do so. What are your thoughts? Do you think this is a no-no? Not a big deal?

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Anagarika
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Re: Netflix Access

Post by Anagarika » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:51 pm

Here's my thought, Digity: Here's the precept in question: "I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given. Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi."

If you are a Netflix subscriber, and pay for the service provided to you in your home country, I am doubtful that, from Netflix' point of view, they intend to offer programming to you from other countries for the fee you are paying. One could argue that you are only accessing a service that you pay for, and that could be a fair interpretation. I am guessing that Netflix does not wish that all of its programming be available cross-country without paying additional fees.

At the end of the day, as the precepts are "training rules" intended to keep us on the Path, if you personally doubt the ethics of it, then don't do it. It's your intention and kamma that governs this, and the extent that you err on the side of not taking something that is not freely given, you are cultivating discipline and brighter kamma. Some might argue this is a harmless act, but in the end, it is your own sense of ethical guidance that might be being harmed. I feel that as Buddhists, we always err on the side of a decision that creates no harm, cultivates good kamma, and leaves no question in our hearts as to its ethics. That's why the precepts are training rules and not laws....they help us keep ourselves on the Path. That's my two baht.

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Mkoll
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Re: Netflix Access

Post by Mkoll » Wed Jan 07, 2015 9:35 pm

I agree with Anagarika in that the most simplest and most ethical action would be not to do it. I also agree that the precepts are training rules, not laws.

In the end, "beings are the owners of their kamma, the heirs of their kamma; they have kamma as their origin, kamma as their relative, kamma as their resort; whatever kamma they do, good or bad, they are its heirs" (AN 10.216 and many others).
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Digity
Posts: 1238
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Netflix Access

Post by Digity » Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:24 am

I always try to err on the side of caution. For me, keeping in line with the precepts is more important that getting my jollies off of watching shows. I wish Netflix allowed me to pay more to view content from other countries. I wouldn't mind paying extra. I don't have cable TV and Netflix is the only thing I have to watch. Oh well, watching less TV is probably a good thing anyway.

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