I’m noticing more and more things I can’t do on the web because of where I am. First it was Google’s hypercautious imposition of snippet view for items that are clearly in the public domain both in the US and in Canada, and Major League Baseball’s refusal to sell me access to online video of Toronto Blue Jays games because I’m in their blackout zone (which covers all of Canada). Then, during the presidential election, I found that that any link to a Daily Show sketch on an American blog was broken, because the Comedy Network has the rights in Canada: so I have to click over there and try and find the right bit (when will OpenURLs cover political satire?). Then I started to hear about Hulu – which you can’t get in Canada. Now Last.fm is going to start charging for access if you live outside the US, UK and Germany.
It appears that DRM isn’t just an individual problem; it also depends on the size of the market and the characteristics of the jurisdiction within which you live. The web does a lot to bring us together on an equal footing, but the purveyors of commercial content have figured out how to break up the market again.
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