'Skam' has attracted attention from everywhere from the other Nordic nations (especially the Danes) to the US and China, but all of those fans around the world are in for a major disappointment.
NRK’s P3 channel, which airs the series both online and on traditional television, announced on Friday that a dispute with Norway’s music industry means that the channel will have to put so-called geoblockers on the programme so that it cannot be viewed outside of Norway.
“NRK has received a request from IFPI Norge to immediately geoblock the series so that it can only be seen in Norway,” the broadcaster’s lawyer, Kari Anne Lang-Ree, said.
IFPI Norge is the Norwegian branch of the the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, which represents the global music industry.
The very success of ‘Skam’ is what has created the problem. NRK’s contract with IFPI is for airing the programme domestically, but also covers making it available to Norwegians abroad. That’s why it is only available with Norwegian subtitles.
But the show’s surprise success has “challenged” the scope of the contract, according to P3’s report.
“NRK has the right to broadcast the material to Norwegians in Norway and abroad and what the music industry is reacting to now is that there are far too many others who are watching it without NRK having paid for the international broadcast rights,” Lang-Ree said.
In recognition of its many non-Norwegian fans, P3 also published a short message in English.
“We want to thank our international fans and followers who have embraced ‘Skam’. We are blown away by your dedication – it is something we never expected. That is why it hurts to tell you guys that due to a necessary clarification with the music right holders, ‘Skam’ will until further notice not be available outside Norway,” it said.
“We are working hard to figure out how to solve this issue so that the fans can continue to enjoy ‘Skam’ from where they are. Thank you for your patience and dedication,” it concluded.
Since the programme began attracting attention from abroad, there has been a global clamouring for it to air with English subtitles, a gap that's been filled by Norwegian fans taking it upon themselves to provide translations on unofficial YouTube rips of the series.
The fourth season of the series is due to debut in the spring so there will be limited time for NRK and IFPI to reach a new agreement.