The FPB wants to regulate Netflix

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NetflixFPB

South African gamers are no strangers to the FPB, the Film and Publications Board that for a long time was a hurdle between them and digitally distributed video game content. They’re also, it seems, looking to change the way we access content in South Africa.

And now, it seems, they’re unhappy with Netflix. According to TechCentral (citing Kenyan website Standard Digital) the FPB chief operating officer Sipho Risiba has slapped Netflix with an ultimatum, saying that the international digital video content provider needs to rate its videos in accordance with the local governing body.

“Our values are different from the American values and their 16-year-old is not necessarily our 16-year-old and that’s why they must re-rate the films in conformity with our standards,” Risiba reportedly said.

TechCentral reports that Netflix has two weeks to get its ratings up to spec, or face sanctions. However, according to mybroadband, no such ultimatum has been given with the discussions about regulation thus far being “amicable.”

The biggest problem of course, is that we in South Africa already enjoy what can only be described as a neutered Netflix experience, especially with Netflix making good on its promises to crack down on DNS services, VPNS and proxies that open up other regions. Complying with FPB regulations can only lead to delays in content being released on the South African service.

Read  The EU will impose local content requirements on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon

And whether or not sanctions are on the cards, there’s a significant cost involved in complying with the FPB – with some believing that the FPB is working outside of the scope of its power. It’s all, it seems, about getting money out of Netflix, with the fee for rating sitting at R750 000.

“Any attempt by the Film and Publication Board to levy this fee should be resisted. I do not believe it is a lawful demand,” says ICT sector lawyer Dominic Cull.

Last Updated: March 18, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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