back to article Australia threatens Adobe, Apple, with geo-blocking ban

Australia's Parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing has found no plausible reason hardware, software and digital downloads costs more down under, and recommended changes to copyright law so locals can access cheaper goods. The Inquiry kicked off last year, as a part-populist, part-sensible probe into why Australian consumers and …


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  1. Steven Roper

    Make VPNs legal?

    Insofar as this is not quite yet the People's Democratic Republic of Australia (although admittedly it's well along the way), there is no law as yet forbidding the use of a VPN in this country. Although the way things are going there may soon be, albeit more likely as I've predicted elsewhere, some kind of business-use-only licencing system will probably appear requiring you to register and prove a requirement to use one in the normal course of business. Not just for copyright enforcement, but also in response to the reaction against PRISM and its ilk. After all, if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear, right?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Make VPNs legal?

      "there is no law as yet forbidding the use of a VPN in this country"

      Indeed: I've clarified the article.


    2. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Make VPNs legal?

      "Those recommendations suggest Australia:

      Educate Australian consumers and businesses on how to circumvent geoblocking and what it will mean for their rights"

      such as the 'right' to bypass that pesky Government-mandated pr0n filter the Aussies seem so keen on?

      (a definite candidate for nomination in this years Claire Perry award for Clear Logic On Technology)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Make VPNs legal?

        The government and its cohorts are the only ones keen on the web filter. I suspect its behind the creation of the NBN (We own the network, you'll have to play by our rules to use it). It seems the disease has also spread to the Poms government.

      2. shayneoneill

        Re: Make VPNs legal?

        Well labors sent senator conroy off to the retirement farm for failed assholes when rudd came monstrin' back in. Friends in labor tell me the guy was literally the only guy with non grey hair in the party who thought it was a good idea so perhaps labors amenable to fixing that vote-murdering mess of a policy.

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    A right of resale for digital goods?


    So, how many years do we have to wait for the suggestions in this report to make it into legislation in a severely crippled state?

  3. Big-nosed Pengie

    It'll never happen

    Our US bosses would never let us do it.

  4. Dazed and Confused

    If they really want to upset companies

    They should suggest that they'll charge an excess price tax of over 120% on the difference in price between the goods in Oz and other locations. These companies hate tax even more than they hate their consumers.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right of resale

    Adobe have already got "right of resale" covered by forcing all users to subscribe to their software instead.

    You didn't think "Cloud" was for the benefit of the consumers did you?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Adobe went for

    It has to be recompiled with the opposite podeaness, obviously most of the world is podean and they are antipodean so there cost is incurred reworking the software for that market.

    Obviously cloud software it is just sunrise-sunset that needs to be reversed so that would only incur only a 30% price increase.

    1. LaeMing

      Until they factor in the Coriolis effect on the cloud, at least.

  7. DrXym

    Right of resale for digital goods

    I think every book, music track and movie in a digital format should have the right of resale. Even if it requires the content to be wrapped in a platform neutral, industry wide DRM that imbues the digital property with the qualities necessary to determine ownership and facilitate permanent or temporary transfer of ownership.

    I'm sure Apple, Amazon etc would *really* hate that so it would have to be made in their interest to support it, e.g. by slapping a really onerous tax on licenced media, forcing them to sell it unencrypted or in the digital property format to avoid that tax.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Right of resale for digital goods

      I doubt Apple themselves would hate it - music on their store is DRM free and they make the majority of their cash from selling the devices not the media. it's more likely the copyright owners - why do they want to allow that when for years they wanted to sell you the same film on VHS, then DVD, then Blu-Ray and now Digital.

      1. DrXym

        Re: Right of resale for digital goods

        I'm pretty certain they would hate it since one of the things that keeps people on their platform is "stickiness", i.e the reluctance for users to leave because their content is tied to the platform. I suspect their change of heart with MP3s was more to do with the appearance of rival services from Amazon and others that were selling in MP3 format.

        Anyway the only way I see digital property becoming a reality is if governments force it through and naturally property has to have some tangible characteristics which means it can be passed from person to person rather than duplicated. Which implies a DRM envelope of some kind with the payload in some open portable format.

  8. ruscook

    Grey importing??

    As far as I know it's NOT illegal to grey import. Everytime we buy a DVD or Book from Amazon or an overseas ebay merchant we're grey importing. So why is

    a) broadcast ie. iplayer for BBC or whatever for Hulu/Netflix; and

    b) software

    any different?

    Can someone explain how copyright works for s/w and movies?

    1. Tomato42
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Grey importing??

      The Hulu/Netfix TOS explicitly forbid it.

      Or it's illegal because MAFIAA tells it is.

    2. Michael B.

      Re: Grey importing??

      For the iPlayer it's a simple matter of economics at the BBC. For almost every programme made there will be copyright licensing required, this is the case from buying in films down to stock photography. The BBC could negotiate a world wide license but the licensee would naturally charge a lot more. ( In the case of films or whole programmes that licensee would probably figure in that fact that they can't sell it on to other countries if the BBC is showing that programme to the entire world.) To keep costs significantly down they can accept a reasonable restriction of only making the programme/copyrighted material available to licensee fee payers in the UK only. Hence Geo-restriction.

      1. ruscook

        Re: Grey importing??

        Yeah, but assuming personal use VCR laws are the same in the UK as here. If I go to the UK, d/l or tape the show for personal use and bring it back (only for me to watch), then I've still grey imported it......

        A lot of intellectual property/copyright stuff seems very arbitrary and quite useless at the end of the day.

        I understand some of the issues might stem from the owners of the source show but globalisation cuts both ways. Do business in every country from any country :-)

    3. Irongut

      Re: Grey importing??

      The BBC is different because we pay for it and you don't you upside down freetard! Pay the UK license fee and I'm happy for you to stream all the Eastenders you like.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Grey importing??

        Pay the UK license fee and I'm happy for you to stream all the Eastenders you like.

        Or, pay the license fee, and we'll stop streaming Eastenders at you.

        1. RealFred

          Re: Grey importing??

          don't threaten us like that or we'll continue sending Neighbors and Prisoner

      2. Allonymous Coward

        Re: Grey importing??

        I've got family in New Zealand. They'd happily pay the license fee for a decent alternative to the drivel that passes as local programming down there.

        Surely it can't be too hard. So I sometimes wonder why the BBC aren't doing it.

  9. Bronek Kozicki

    ... and the proposed legislative changes would effectively render any such limitations null and voice (or at least unenforceable). Bring it on, I say !

  10. Winkypop Silver badge


    VPN access is extremely cheap, easy to set up and use, even here in Oz. It's not illegal yet, but then neither are radar detectors (in this state) yet.

    Do the geo-blockers really think the antipodean masses aren't already enjoying BBC iPlayer, Hulu, et al?

    As for grey importing, Book Depository anyone?

    As water will always finds it's own level, us iTards will always find a better deal.

  11. The Dark Lord

    Currency conversion

    Creative Cloud price in Australia: $49.99

    Creative Cloud price in UK: £46.88.

    At current rates the Australian price is £30.06.

    The Australians are worried about international gouging???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Currency conversion

      The price disparity at the time of the inquiry was inverse.

      Two things have happened since then:

      1 - Adobe adjusted their pricing so that Australian licensing was largely in-line with USD prices

      2 - the AUD was trading at ~1.10 to the USD at the time of the inquiry, it now trades at ~0.90

      The USD price is the benchmark against which you should measure against, as that is the largest market where the "real price" is set.

      1. hitmouse

        Re: Currency conversion

        Apple charges Australia more than the US for music regardless of where the exchange rate is. They change their rhetoric to suit whether it's < 1 or > 1.

  12. P. Lee

    Next up


  13. David Kelly 2


    A heavy-handed high-tax regulate-everything government doesn't understand why things cost more under their jurisdiction?

    Well, "Duh!"

  14. Mark 15

    If only the British government had the balls!

  15. silent_count

    Looks like the committee has discovered

    what the rest of us already know: that the purpose of region locking/geo-locating is to screw customers.

    I wonder if anything will come of these proposals.

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