Netflix, Apple, Adobe. How geoblocks rip you off

Simon-Bosch

How’s this for rewarding loyalty?

Netflix is about to come to Australia and as a thank-you to the 200,000 Australians who have been devotedly buying its content for years it is reportedly about to pull the plug.

The unacknowledged reason such companies charge Australians more is because they can. It’s called price discrimination and is one of the most effective ways of turning a profit.

Until now $US8.99 a month has bought unlimited access to as many 100,000 movies and TV shows for any Australian able to trick the Netflix computer into thinking they’re in the US. It’s been easy, and it’s been legal.

The High Court declared in 2005 that it was legal to circumvent geoblocks. A geoblock is a technological device designed to limit someone’s access to a product or service depending on where they live.

The region codes on DVDs are geoblocks. They are intended to stop viewers in some parts of the world watching DVDs intended for viewers in other parts. They cause heartbreak for travellers returning from overseas attempting to play what they’ve bought, bemusement for workers who move between countries and are required to nominate a single region code, and embarrassment for international figures such as President Barack Obama, who once gave then UK prime minister Gordon Brown a gift of 25 classic American movies that were unwatchable in Britain

–>Read the complete article by Peter Martin in The Sydney Morning Herald

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