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Australian Consumer Group Wants Geo-IP Blocking Banned 233

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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  • Two separate issues (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:53AM (#40697749)

    To me, there are two issues here: 1. Being blocked from content and 2. Seeing different prices based on your location.

    In all likelihood the reason people are (generally) blocked from seeing content is due to export and/or copyright restrictions, and if that is the case, well then it doesn't just apply to the internet. Why should I be able to buy something online that I can't order over the phone, simply because online the retailer can't tell where I'm at?

    As far as different pricing goes, it's not fair to say that this only applies to (that things are less expensive in) the US. I remember when I was in college there was a huge controversy over buying cheap, export versions of textbooks. Why pay $125 for that engineering text when you can get a softbound Indian copy for $30?

    Bottom line - none of these things are limited to the internet, so it's more of a political issue than an IP one.

  • by eddy ( 18759 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:56AM (#40697801) Homepage Journal

    Companies love to talk about free markets, but they hate to operate on them. Free to them means not the free flow of goods and services, it means the freedom to do whatever they like.

    Steam for instance, topical, even has two tiers for europe; western and eastern, with different prices and catalogues. Imagine if they had two tiers for the US! If I go to Steam this very minute, in their "Flash Sale" there are four games listed. Well, normally. Currently one of the boxes say "We're sorry. This game is not available in your region".

    They're allowed to produce products whereever in the world it's the cheapest for them -- which is fine -- HOWEVER they are then ALLOWED to segment markets so that consumers can't enjoy the same freedoms. Politicians bend over to give corps the legal tools to enforce these arbitrary restrictions on trade. Is it any wonder that we revile them?

    Sorry for the ranting, but I don't have time to rewrite.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @11:01AM (#40698839)
    Do you have a different price for black people?
  • by Caesar Tjalbo ( 1010523 ) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @11:42AM (#40699487)
    You're right, it's another example of why copyright is unsustainable in the world-wide digital age. I suppose you can prevent easy distribution of physical goods in the world but digital copyrighted items are impossible to contain within borders. Essentially, the promise made by copyright laws to the rights holders is a lie.

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