There was a time when if you wanted to watch something that wasn't on television, or it had been and gone, you were forced to either go without, or download the show from the internet.

The problem was such downloads were and still are illegal.

But then along came Netflix and other providers who gave us the option of watching shows legally, by paying a subscription usually.

At last there was no need to be an outlaw. Well, almost.

Example one: Wanted, a Netflix-own production, produced in Australia and getting rave reviews across the world, isn't available on New Zealand Netflix. Free TV has had it, but not the people who effectively paid for its production through their subscriptions to Netflix.

Example two: Broadchurch. Seasons one and two are on NZ Netflix but not season three, which screened on TV here months ago. It's also available on Netflix in many other countries, just not NZ.

Example three: Premier League Pass (since closed down) handed out match highlights to news organisations and the general public free of charge while making subscribers wait days before those same highlights became available as part of their subscription.

Our own Business Zen, Russell Bell, who has been writing recently on the value of customer service, would no doubt be unimpressed.

The only way to see those shows is to go back to the bad old days of torrents and illegal downloads, despite paying subscriptions to services through which the shows ought to be available.

Piracy may never be able to be stamped out such are the complexities of the internet but to feed it by withholding shows is daft in the extreme.

Netflix, Lightbox, HBO, Sky, etc ought to do better.