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Australian Consumer Group Wants Geo-IP Blocking Banned 233

Posted by timothy
from the I-bet-most-americans-agree dept.
daria42 writes "Live outside the US? Then you're probably used to being blocked from watching Hulu, frustrated by not being able to buy the eBooks you want from Amazon and most of all, annoyed about paying significantly higher prices than Americans for exactly the same software, games and content online, all based on your IP address. This week Australian consumer group Choice called for an Australian ban on geo-IP-blocking, saying it created significant barriers to the free flow of goods and services. Maybe other countries' consumer groups should follow suit, in the quest for a fair go?"
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Australian Consumer Group Wants Geo-IP Blocking Banned

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  • Globalism (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:45AM (#40697645)

    There is a free world-market for multinationals but still a higly localized and bordered market for consumers buying the products from the multinationals. It's about time this gets fixed.

    If trousers are less expensive in the US, why is it illegal for me to import them to the EU and sell them in masses?

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:52AM (#40697735) Journal

    Well, I endorse the intent of this, but the main reason the free flow of digital goods is blocked by region is because of the balkanized licensing of media. Geo-IP blocking is a consequence of this, not a cause of it.

    If you want global viewing of content or global distribution of software, then the balkanization is the problem. For media such as movies and music, the solution would involve getting rid of local licensing and extortion by local media groups - good luck with that. For software, there are language and legal issues which differ from country to country, and a software maker may prefer to have these handled by a "distributor/importer" who gouges the consumer. In some cases, the "importer/distributor" is actually a local subsidiary of the overseas supplier, but still adds extra cost.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:55AM (#40697777) Homepage Journal

    This is one of those areas where you can see what the so-called "free marketeers" really think. If you *really* believe in the free market, IP blocking, region codes, etc. should be right out because when it comes down to brass tacks they are simply artificial price controls on a marketplace that no longer have natural time and space restrictions in place. As usual it isn't about core beliefs, it's about what gets the most money in their fat hands.

    If they want the world to be "free market" they need to stop being hypocritical and take the good with the bad. You can't go running to big brother every time it doesn't go your way and the outcome of your philosophy doesn't match up with what your perfect world looks like.

    Yeah, I know it is way too much to ask.

  • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gedeco (696368) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:18AM (#40698111)

    They're cheaper near where they are grown. Sometimes, they're not even available due to lack of demand.

    It's simple economics. There's little/no reason why globally universal prices should be in place - it's an asinine idea.

    Sure, this makes sense for the price of Avacadoes, but not for a ebook or a movie you can buy online.

    So where is the problem?

  • Re:Globalism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sentrion (964745) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:25AM (#40698215)

    So the real problem is stupid laws. I would like to point fingers at some other country, but the US and US states are probably the world's worst offenders. Right now there's some guy serving a four year prison term in Florida for violating Florida's "obscenity" laws, but he never set food in Florida until an extradition order had him arrested in his home state of California and transported to Florida in a prison van to be tried by a jury of his non-peers. Why was this allowed? Because he had a p0rn site, his web hosting company used servers in Florida, and he mailed DVD's all across the country - including Florida. Now the material this guy produced WAS obscene, but if California did not see a reason to prosecute him then that should have been the end of the case unless he relocated to Florida to run his business.

    "States Rights" sounds like some sort of great idea until you consider that the focus is on the right of the state over the rights of individuals. For instance, there is a myth that the Civil War was fought over slavery, but this is not true - it was fought over States Rights, such as the right to enslave their own people. Given that we live in an age of light-speed telecommunications, overnight shipping, a national highway system, and frequent flyer miles, the notion that every American needs to be intimately familiar with all of the laws, legal precedent, and nuance for how these laws are enforced in all 50 states while they go about their daily affairs is just no longer practical.

    Maybe the US needs to overhaul the Constitution and reorganize. Somewhere between six and ten administrative regions might be more appropriate. After fixing our internal problems then we should tackle some of the nonsense with our international relations.

  • Click Agree. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @11:20AM (#40699137)

    All those porn sites that ask if you're over 18 because it would be illegal for someone underage to enter.

    How do they manage that?

    Oh, that's right, they ask that the person buying it be obeying the law.

    Maybe they could do the same here.

    Maybe if they're an internet company, they need to buy a license for distribution in the inherently international internet.

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