Is VPN a good thing to have

tenorio35

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I would like to hear opinions on VPN and using it please. I read what it says about it but I never hear about it in any discussions. Thanks
 

zx10guy

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This topic is more of a networking or security topic.

Here is a sticky discussing what a "VPN" actually is. The services we're talking about here are actually proxy services using VPN for marketing.

What is a VPN and do I Need One?
 
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zx10guy

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Then there's this:

ExpressVPN employees complain about ex-spy's top role at company | Reuters

I'm going to be frank again. If anyone is buying into this illusion that they're going to be able to run around the Internet as a ghost with no footprint or accountability on what they do, you're sadly mistaken. It all boils down to if you're doing stuff that you won't be embarrassed to tell your friends you're doing then you don't need any of this additional fluff. If you're that concerned about your data foot print, be more judicious on what you do on the Internet and push your legislators to institute GDPR here in the States.

Only time I see these proxy services as being useful is if you travel a ton and have to use untrusted public WiFi hot spots.

Overall, if you dig into how these services work, you're degrading your overall performance by adding another network layer on top of your normal Internet traffic. Issues such as frame fragmentation or decreased payload size due to the VPN overhead, scaling of the proxy services network and VPN concentrator equipment, and loading of connection points by other subscribers. Not to mention adding in another set of network hops.
 

SeanLaurence 🎂

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I would like to hear opinions on VPN and using it please. I read what it says about it but I never hear about it in any discussions. Thanks
Your question did not specify what problem you are looking to a VPN to solve.
VPN's were originally developed to securely connect private networks together over the public internet.
These days, VPN's are mostly seen by office workers as a means to do remote work. This is absolutely a perfect use for a VPN.
Subscription VPN services are snake oil IMO.
Since you have to trust not only the website you are visiting to keep your data "private", now you have to also trust your VPN provider to be selling you what they say they are.
If what you want to do is get around "Geo-Blocking" so that you can watch TV that is otherwise blocked in your region, then that is fair enough, provided that you are OK with breaking the terms of service of the provider of the content you are watching. In other words - this is another form of "piracy".
 

zx10guy

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Your question did not specify what problem you are looking to a VPN to solve.
VPN's were originally developed to securely connect private networks together over the public internet.
These days, VPN's are mostly seen by office workers as a means to do remote work. This is absolutely a perfect use for a VPN.
Subscription VPN services are snake oil IMO.
Since you have to trust not only the website you are visiting to keep your data "private", now you have to also trust your VPN provider to be selling you what they say they are.
If what you want to do is get around "Geo-Blocking" so that you can watch TV that is otherwise blocked in your region, then that is fair enough, provided that you are OK with breaking the terms of service of the provider of the content you are watching. In other words - this is another form of "piracy".
This goes back to why I keep referring to these services as proxy services and NOT VPNs. Yes, they use a VPN as part of the system they present up to the customer. I explain the whole detail around how these systems work in the sticky at the top of this sub forum. As I said, these services are using the term VPN on purpose to give the false illusion that you can do whatever you want on the Internet without leaving a footprint. And most of the time when someone brings up the term VPN on a public forum, it's in reference to these proxy services.

With regards to Geo-Blocking, it's not a matter of if the person is ok with breaking the terms of service. And your use of piracy in quotes waters down what the person is actually doing....which is breaking the law and stealing content which they have no permission to consume as the content OWNER has put those restrictions in for a reason. Whether a person agrees to it or not, is irrelevant as the person in question does NOT own the content.
 

SeanLaurence 🎂

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With regards to Geo-Blocking, it's not a matter of if the person is ok with breaking the terms of service. And your use of piracy in quotes waters down what the person is actually doing....which is breaking the law and stealing content which they have no permission to consume as the content OWNER has put those restrictions in for a reason. Whether a person agrees to it or not, is irrelevant as the person in question does NOT own the content.
This discussion perhaps could be moved to the controversial topics forum.
Copyright law is complex and is not uniform around the world.
If I, as a Canadian, use a VPN to access a US Netflix account that I personally subscribe to, is that piracy? Whether it is or not depends on the contract that I entered into with Netflix when I subscribed. IANAL.
Should it be considered piracy?
IMO copyright law favours "rights holders" and should be amended.
Law is a human construct. Back in the 80's "Rights Holders" took VCR manufacturers to court, claiming that recording TV programs for the purpose of time shifting was piracy. I am pleased that that the courts sided with consumers and called that activity "fair use"

When you use the word "stealing" when referring to "copying" you look ridiculous. If one "steals" something, it deprives the rightful owner of that thing. One might make the argument that copying something MAY deprive the owner of some income, but that assumes that the infringer would be willing to pay for the IP if it were not freely available.
 

zx10guy

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This discussion perhaps could be moved to the controversial topics forum.
Copyright law is complex and is not uniform around the world.
If I, as a Canadian, use a VPN to access a US Netflix account that I personally subscribe to, is that piracy? Whether it is or not depends on the contract that I entered into with Netflix when I subscribed. IANAL.
Should it be considered piracy?
IMO copyright law favours "rights holders" and should be amended.
Law is a human construct. Back in the 80's "Rights Holders" took VCR manufacturers to court, claiming that recording TV programs for the purpose of time shifting was piracy. I am pleased that that the courts sided with consumers and called that activity "fair use"

When you use the word "stealing" when referring to "copying" you look ridiculous. If one "steals" something, it deprives the rightful owner of that thing. One might make the argument that copying something MAY deprive the owner of some income, but that assumes that the infringer would be willing to pay for the IP if it were not freely available.
Let's address the final point first. Resorting to calling one's opposing stance ridiculous just makes you the ridiculous one. It is NOT your place to make a determination on how a product is used. Period. Based on what you've wrote so far it's painfully obvious why you would be triggered by the term stealing. Because it is. An analogy is, I can park in someone's driveway for a short term as I'm not laying claim to the property. I'm just borrowing it for a period time. Many content owners have side agreements for broadcasters with exclusive rights with real money involved that you have no privie to.

As to your Netflix example, I don't subscribe to Netflix so I don't know how subscriptions are dealt with per market segment. But I find it ridiculous (your term) that anyone would subscribe to a US based content delivery living in Canada knowing there are geo restrictions. If you are in the right and the terms spell out you can consume US content in Canada with a US subscription, then you should have no problems sending correspondence to Netflix to get their approval in writing.

As to your example with Fair Use, it's not a law. It's was only set forth with a single court case involving Sony. There have been attempts at codifying Fair Use into actual law in the States which died due to lack of public interest. What has been codified and being enforced is DMCA which governs the content we're talking about and has been used to execute prosecutions on violators.

If you have a problem with copyright laws, you're more than welcome to attempt to affect change.

BTW, I'm anything but a supporter of the MPAA/RIAA and DMCA. I just don't take to hypocritical justifications for knowingly violating laws.
 

SeanLaurence 🎂

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Let's address the final point first. Resorting to calling one's opposing stance ridiculous just makes you the ridiculous one. It is NOT your place to make a determination on how a product is used. Period. Based on what you've wrote so far it's painfully obvious why you would be triggered by the term stealing. Because it is. An analogy is, I can park in someone's driveway for a short term as I'm not laying claim to the property. I'm just borrowing it for a period time. Many content owners have side agreements for broadcasters with exclusive rights with real money involved that you have no privie to.

As to your Netflix example, I don't subscribe to Netflix so I don't know how subscriptions are dealt with per market segment. But I find it ridiculous (your term) that anyone would subscribe to a US based content delivery living in Canada knowing there are geo restrictions. If you are in the right and the terms spell out you can consume US content in Canada with a US subscription, then you should have no problems sending correspondence to Netflix to get their approval in writing.

As to your example with Fair Use, it's not a law. It's was only set forth with a single court case involving Sony. There have been attempts at codifying Fair Use into actual law in the States which died due to lack of public interest. What has been codified and being enforced is DMCA which governs the content we're talking about and has been used to execute prosecutions on violators.

If you have a problem with copyright laws, you're more than welcome to attempt to affect change.

BTW, I'm anything but a supporter of the MPAA/RIAA and DMCA. I just don't take to hypocritical justifications for knowingly violating laws.
Stealing is stealing. Copying is different. When you use the word "stealing" instead of "unauthorised copying" it makes you look like you don't know what you are talking about. With the single exception of your choice of that word, it does appear that you do know what you are talking about.

I don't think your analogy of parking a car in someone else's driveway is a good one. If driveway owner needs to use the blocked driveway then he can't. Unauthorised copying never presents the "owner" with the inability to use the works.
If I witness someone using my driveway to turn around, I might get upset emotionally, but intellectually I can forgive the trespass.

"The major legal issue involved in time shifting concerns "fair use" law and the possibility of copyright infringement.[2] This legal issue was first raised in the landmark court case of Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. or the "Betamax case".[3] In the 1970s, Universal and Disney sued Sony, claiming its timed recording capability amounted to copyright infringement.[4] The Supreme Court of the United States found in favor of Sony; the majority decision held that time shifting was a fair use, represented no substantial harm to the copyright holder and would not contribute to a diminished marketplace for its product." - Wikipedia

You suggest that I am hypocritically justifying violating laws. The thing is that the law that is violated when streaming geo-blocked content is the contract that you have entered into with the content provider. It is not the copyright that the IP owner has that has been violated. If you have a valid Netflix subscription, you are allowed to stream the content per your agreement with Netflix. Netflix created the agreement on their own terms without negotiating with individual end users. Take it or leave it.
I understand that cross border license agreements are complex, and that they are the reason why geo-blocking technology exists. Netflix has to make a good faith effort in blocking cross border viewing as a part of their agreements with rights holders.

There is a truce between rights holders and casual pirates currently: Pirates understand that without ticket sales and subscriptions, the funding for new content will dry up. Content providers understand that going medieval on fans that casually pirate their content is counter productive and will provoke backlashes.
 

zx10guy

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Stealing is stealing. Copying is different. When you use the word "stealing" instead of "unauthorised copying" it makes you look like you don't know what you are talking about. With the single exception of your choice of that word, it does appear that you do know what you are talking about.

I don't think your analogy of parking a car in someone else's driveway is a good one. If driveway owner needs to use the blocked driveway then he can't. Unauthorised copying never presents the "owner" with the inability to use the works.
If I witness someone using my driveway to turn around, I might get upset emotionally, but intellectually I can forgive the trespass.

"The major legal issue involved in time shifting concerns "fair use" law and the possibility of copyright infringement.[2] This legal issue was first raised in the landmark court case of Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. or the "Betamax case".[3] In the 1970s, Universal and Disney sued Sony, claiming its timed recording capability amounted to copyright infringement.[4] The Supreme Court of the United States found in favor of Sony; the majority decision held that time shifting was a fair use, represented no substantial harm to the copyright holder and would not contribute to a diminished marketplace for its product." - Wikipedia

You suggest that I am hypocritically justifying violating laws. The thing is that the law that is violated when streaming geo-blocked content is the contract that you have entered into with the content provider. It is not the copyright that the IP owner has that has been violated. If you have a valid Netflix subscription, you are allowed to stream the content per your agreement with Netflix. Netflix created the agreement on their own terms without negotiating with individual end users. Take it or leave it.
I understand that cross border license agreements are complex, and that they are the reason why geo-blocking technology exists. Netflix has to make a good faith effort in blocking cross border viewing as a part of their agreements with rights holders.

There is a truce between rights holders and casual pirates currently: Pirates understand that without ticket sales and subscriptions, the funding for new content will dry up. Content providers understand that going medieval on fans that casually pirate their content is counter productive and will provoke backlashes.
Not according to this on your weak attempt to disassociate copyright infringement from stealing:

Locast Copyright Infringement Lawsuit: Court Rules In Favor Of Broadcast TV Networks, Says Locast Does Not Qualify For Non-Profit Exemption — AVL Blog - Communications Law & Technology (anthonyveachlaw.com)

The word stealing was used in the filing for copyright infringement and the blog was written by a copyright lawyer.

This truce you're talking about is just wishful thinking.
 

SeanLaurence 🎂

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Although the word "Stealing" was used in the blog post, it was not used anywhere in the official complaint as linked to from the post. It is used for pejorative effect and I maintain that it is inappropriate.

The idea of a truce is my interpretation of the reality that I observe. Kids are not getting sued for sharing songs and movies on line anymore because the RIAA found it to be counterproductive.

That Locast case is interesting - I was not familiar with it. It seems that they lost because the judge didn't believe that they were non-profit. Otherwise the law was clear that they had the right to re-broadcast OTA TV. They could re-work their payment model a bit and try again.

"Locast's total costs last year were $2.4 million, compared to its total revenue of $4.5 million, $4.3 million of which came from user payments. Based on this, Stanton said Locast made "far more money from user charges than was necessary to defray its costs.""
https://www.reuters.com/legal/trans...t-major-networks-copyright-claims-2021-09-01/
 

zx10guy

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Although the word "Stealing" was used in the blog post, it was not used anywhere in the official complaint as linked to from the post. It is used for pejorative effect and I maintain that it is inappropriate.

The idea of a truce is my interpretation of the reality that I observe. Kids are not getting sued for sharing songs and movies on line anymore because the RIAA found it to be counterproductive.

That Locast case is interesting - I was not familiar with it. It seems that they lost because the judge didn't believe that they were non-profit. Otherwise the law was clear that they had the right to re-broadcast OTA TV. They could re-work their payment model a bit and try again.

"Locast's total costs last year were $2.4 million, compared to its total revenue of $4.5 million, $4.3 million of which came from user payments. Based on this, Stanton said Locast made "far more money from user charges than was necessary to defray its costs.""
https://www.reuters.com/legal/trans...t-major-networks-copyright-claims-2021-09-01/
I maintain it is appropriate as I'd rather take the word of an actual copyright lawyer (the author of the blog) over some random person on the Internet that is giving their non legal expert opinion.

The RIAA has changed tactics and moved to engaging ISPs in cutting off violators from Internet service if they don't comply to a DMCA complaint.

They lost because they tried to pass themselves off as a non-profit. And the judge saw through it. It wasn't just the payment model it was also the involvement of Dish and DirecTV particularly with Dish injecting $500k into Locast. If as you say, they could have reworked their payment model, then why did they just close up shop after the ruling?
 

Cookiegal

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This discussion perhaps could be moved to the controversial topics forum.
This thread was not started as a controversial topic and it will be the thread starter who will decide if they wish to participate in a debate so unless that happens the thread will not be moved. However, my observation is that you Sean have introduced elements (getting around geo restrictions/piracy) that we don't support and semantics on the word "stealing" which have, in effect, turned this discussion into a debate. If you wish to debate VPNs and/or whether piracy or getting around restrictions and Terms of Service is stealing then kindly start a new thread for that purpose in the Controversial Topics forum. For now, I don't want to see any more posts in this thread until the person who started it responds and expresses their intentions for its direction.
 

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