Hulu Implies Legal Issues Are Behind PS3 Blockage


Video service Hulu has issued a lengthy but vague statement implying that legal difficulties may be responsible for its absence from the PlayStation 3.

PlayStation 3 owners discovered they could no longer access Hulu in late June. Testing showed that the PlayStation 3 was being specifically blocked, although no explanation from Hulu was forthcoming; Sony recently acknowledged the problem but implied there was little it could, or would, do about it.

Soon after the block was put into place, Patrick Klepek of submitted a complaint to the customer service department asking why he could no longer watch his videos. After a considerable delay, a Hulu rep finally came back with a drawn-out response that actually said very little except to suggest that there may be a legal issue with at least one content provider. The rep opened with an explanation of how distribution models work before saying that while the rise of the web, readily accessible broadband and other factors are making barriers between platforms more “permeable,” there are still many long-standing “realities” that must be accounted for.

“In the near-term, the windowing strategy is still dominant in the business. Billions of dollars flow in across these different windows, and entire companies are organized around them,” the rep wrote. “Nothing productive comes from flouting that reality (except to law firms who work on the occasional lawsuit).”

“Everything we do is with an eye toward achieving our long-term goal of maximizing the content you can access as conveniently as possible in a way that ‘works’ for the content owner,” he continued. “In the short-term that may require us to make some tough decisions, but we only do so when we believe it improves our long-term prospects to build a more enduring, legal solution to that same problem.”

It’s not much of an explanation but the implication seems obvious enough: Somebody, somewhere, doesn’t like the idea of Hulu’s content showing up on the PlayStation 3 and has the legal clout to do something about it. And unfortunately for PS3 owners, since neither Sony nor Hulu seem to even want to discuss the issue, much less address it, it would appear likely that life without Hulu is something you’d better get used to.

Thanks to cleverlymadeup for the tip.

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