Europe

Where is it?

Remember back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when the media and content providers claimed we would be accessing content from the four corners of the earth?

Well, it’s nearly 2020 and we’re still having serious distribution issues when it comes to music and film from Europe.

This may not be a problem for most english speakers in this country, who primarily look at Hollywood blockbusters and the odd independent film from the states, Canada, Britain, Ireland or Australia. But when you wander on the Internet Movie Database and encounter films that feature actors and actresses you know from some of those films, you may notice that these have not been made available to North Americans, regardless of the major award nominations or wins these have accumulated.

In my case I have been encountering dead ends trying to rent or purchase recent music and films from Denmark and Finland, that i’ve been searching for since the release of the Academy Award winning film “In A Better World” in 2011.

This excellent Danish drama is available on blu-ray in North America and can be downloaded via Google Play and iTunes in Canada and the United States. But Canadians will not be able to find “Someone You Love“, another Scandinavian drama featuring Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt, or Danish teen horror flick “Danny’s Doomsday“, which features William Jøhnk Nielsen (one of the young, lead actors in “In A Better World“).

Those films were made available on DVD and blu-ray for a short time after their original 2014 theatrical release and are still available for rental and purchase in Europe via several services, including iTunes and Google Play. But only “Danny’s Doomsday” has made it “across the pond”, exclusively to Prime Video in the states.

I’ve contacted iTunes, Google Play and Amazon/Prime Video repetitively in regards to several other European films and the response is pretty much “we’re slowly adding to our catalog so it might appear online soon”, the response i’ve received for over a decade in response to my requests for several classic french films i’ve wanted.

The delays in regards to the french films i’ve asked for are understandable because they’re rather obscure outside of Quebec and the other parts of North America where french isn’t common. But I won’t lie and say I don’t find it rather irritating to see soundtracks from the more recent films being featured on those services instead.

Seriously, I had purchased some of the music off the “Urban Family” soundtrack from iTunes four years before randomly encountering the Finnish musical on some obscure channel on my Roku a few weeks back. And to make matters worse I have also yet to be able to purchase “Uusi Ullottovuus“, a catchy tune by the Brotherus Brothers, the young sibling trio that features Johannes Brotherus, one of the lead actors of that film!

There are also no guaranties that a foreign film will remain available for a long time in North America, which is made apparent by the disappearance of the multiple award winning films like “Good Bye Lenin!” and “I’m Not Scared” from our store shelves and content providers. And all we can do is add titles to our wish lists on the latter, occasionally checking with JustWatch to see if a film pops up somewhere online.

Yes, you could try to find these films on DVD or Blu-ray on eBay or Amazon and use an all region DVD or blu-ray player if these discs aren’t coded for our region but this can get quite costly because of the shipping and handling costs per disc, although the later is more bearable if the DVD or Blu-ray you’re purchasing is compatible with your current player ; Consult your DVD or blu-ray player’s manual for details.

Personally, i’d prefer paying the foreign film producers directly to rent or download their films, when no distributor is available. But there are usually contract issues lingering in the background that keeps that from happening, unfortunately.

I have managed to secure some foreign films on DVD and blu-ray, that were produced in North America. But i’m guessing these are going to get rarer as more and more people just stream or download films legally.

I guess we all need to be patient about these things. But sometimes…

Argh!


Sprichst du deutsch ?

It appears that English speakers are now able to access most of Amazon.de in English, just in time for the end of year sales.

Knowing only English and French, I had used Amazon UK and Amazon France for years for the German CDs and DVDs I couldn’t get in Canada. But now I guess i’ll be able to use their German site for vinyl as well.

They’re still working on translating most of the site though so you might still run into German pages as you browse the site.

EU Politician Says ACTA Is Dead

Alexander Alvaro, a member of the European Parliament, has issued a statement to Billboard stating that he expects the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement will be rejected by the European Parliament.

The agreement is currently be reviewed by the Committee on International Trade. Additional information can be found here.

Latvia Says No To ACTA / Bill C-11 Update

Latvia is the latest European nation to stop their ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. And it appears that Germany wants to hold off on signing in response to the public protests in their country.

Unfortunately Bill C-11 has progressed through the first and second reading in the House Of Commons here in Canada, with little to no response to the overwhelming opposition to the digital locks provisions and SOPA like website blocking.

The public has spoken, both in the public consultations on Bill C-32 and with recent letters and petitions against Bill C-11.

It is clear that Canadians do not want contradictory policies on private copying and SOPA like enforcement of our Copyright Act. Over 32,000 Canadians have signed the Openmedia.ca petition, including yours truly. And 74,000 “liked” the petition on Facebook.

It is a matter of record. Members of Parliament have received letters and emails conveying concern about or opposition to several provisions in Bill C-11, yet the current government has failed to address this correspondence.

This bill was rushed through it’s second reading in the House of Commons today, with little time for debate, and is up for review by a committee, who will analyze and amend the bill.

Hopefully they will notice how contradictory the technological protections measures are and amend them accordingly.

Second Thoughts On ACTA In Europe

Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have had second thoughts on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and have suspended their ratification in response to the demands for public consultation on this international trade agreement.

Though Canada has ratified the ACTA on October 1st, 2011, public consultations are still listed as ongoing according to the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada web site. And several older submissions are accessible by clicking here.

Several key portions of ACTA were also addressed by the 2009 copyright consultation submissions.

Partial Recovery For Playstation/Qriocity

A FAQ on the restoration of service for the USA, Canada and Europe is available on the Playstation Network Blog, as well as a video by Kazuo Hirai of Sony in regards to this restoration.

Online gaming (PS3 and PSP), chat service and music downloads are slowly being restored as the system is handling password reset requests.