If Netflix was peanut butter and Facebook was jelly, you’d think indulging in the combination of the two would be a natural delight that nobody would prevent you from enjoying. There’s just one problem with this scenario: Facebook can’t be jelly because Netflix is currently prohibited from being peanut butter due to a law pre-dating the Internet.
To give you an idea of how old this yummy sandwich-blocking law is, the Video Privacy Protection Act was passed as a reaction to Robert Bork’s video rental records being released to the press back when he was busy getting shut out of his nomination to the Supreme Court. The law states that only so much information related to a person’s video viewing and renting habits can be shared.
And.. that’s it. You can’t have a Netflix app for Facebook all because Robert Bork wasn’t confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Things have changed a lot since Bork’s butthurt complaint about his video rentals being published and, luckily, people in Congress have realized that this law really isn’t so useful anymore. Sen. Al Franken, of Minnesota, is one of them and has been pressing for an update to VPPA. Check out his speech on the issue in the video below:
If that’s too much for you, here’s an excerpt:
If someone wants to share what they watch, I want them to be able to do so. But I want to make sure that consumers have the right to easily control who finds out what they watch—and who doesn’t. The Video Privacy Protection Act guarantees them that right. I want to make sure we protect that right for another quarter of a century.
Let’s all hope that Sen. Franken can push this issue far enough to gather the support needed to make sure that we can all look forward to a future of Netflix-Facebook sandwich smorgasbord of sharing video watching preferences.