Hulu Geopricks in the New Year

As the new year rolls cross the world, online video provider Hulu has been up to its usual tricks again, this time blocking viewers outside the United States from watching a live feed of New Years Eve from New York.

While usually Hulu blocking viewers wouldn’t constitute a story, this time they’ve been caught lying about the reasons as well.

The live stream not only isn’t georetarded by the provider (The Times Square Alliance), it’s also provided for free to any broadcaster in the world to play anywhere on a non-exclusive basis. The terms of use are on the website here. The very same stream appears on services such as Earthcam and Mogulus without being blocked.

Hulu instead gives users its standard set of excuses: our video library is not available outside the United States, with a link to a statement on achieving international rights “requires clearing the rights for each show or film in each specific geography.” The thing in this case: the rights are clearly international, so the decision was made by Hulu not for legal reasons.

This doesn’t really count as georetardation either; georetarded content is content blocked by geography due to restrictions from rights holders. The rights holders aren’t the ones doing this, Hulu are, so I’m calling it an act of geoprickery. The alternative is to call them Geoc&*ts, but that might upset a few people, even if it’s entirely accurate.

Happy New Year Hulu, and here’s hoping 2009 completely sucks for you.