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EU mulls massive digital reforms: end to geoblocking, cash back for buggy videogames

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Syriel

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Sep 21, 2009
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Surely that Netflix change would be terrible?

Right now you can use a vpn and get access to content from anywhere in the world, being locked to your home country would really, really suck.

So hang on, EU is trying to introduce a law where Netflix HAS TO tie my account to the Netherlands and can no longer offer me another country's content, where as I can currently freely switch between regions and get different contents?

Thank you EU, for once again trying to fuck up a good thing.

This all depends on the final draft of the law. Until that happens, no one can say how things would play out.

If it means that the EU must be treated as a single licensing territory, then there would no longer be "a German Netflix" or "a Dutch Netflix" there would just be "an EU Netflix" and all EU users would get the same catalog.

If it means that EU states remain individual licensing territories, then yes, it would effectively force a geo-lock on Netflix (and other streaming provider) accounts.

If the EU does become one licensing territory for IP (books, music, movies, games, etc.) it will mean a huge consolidation across a number of companies. It would be GREAT news for streaming companies like Netflix, Google, Amazon, Sky, etc., but would cause a bit of a shitstorm among IP license holders across the EU as it is currently possible for different companies to have different rights to provide content in different parts of the EU (hence why you get Geo-blocking today).

Isn't it due to the nationality of the account in each case? I thought you could only access US Netflix with a US Netflix account?

No. Netflix accounts are worldwide. The catalog that you get depends on the IP address that you connect to Netflix from.

You are *already* locked to your country of residence. It's illegal to use VPNs to access content.

No, it is not illegal to use a VPN in most countries across the world.

You are misinterpreting the issue. The actual text of the Regulation says that the Dutch provider of Netflix cannot block access when outside of the Netherlands (art. 3). It does not say subscribers would only have access to their home country content.

There is no "Dutch provider of Netflix." Netflix provides Netflix.
 

Diablos

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Jun 6, 2004
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Cash back for buggy videogames is a great idea. Also hilarious because it will probably bankrupt a lot of studios. I wouldn't feel bad for them though. They need to take responsibility for their work and not farm it out to consumers to quasi-beta test.
 

zou

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Jan 6, 2006
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This all depends on the final draft of the law. Until that happens, no one can say how things would play out.

Considering how the net neutrality law actually allows providers to discriminate against content provider I have absolutely no faith in this proposal not fucking the customers.
 

hipbabboom

Huh? What did I say? Did I screw up again? :(
Aug 22, 2013
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Most software are technically unfeasible to have bug free. You are looking at an application stack that sits on too many abstraction layers between software and hardware where things can go wrong given the right combinations of completely valid conditions that may be controlled by the user's behavior. It's simply impossible to test all of these user behaviors and design patterns (especially in videogames) that prioritize performance over the low probability of failure are also common place. It sucks that bugs happen but its a byproduct of applications becoming more complex to allow cooler and richer experiences. It's not as simple as people try to make it seem and to strap a money back guarantee on something that is theoretically impossible to guarantee is a bad move.
 

scoobidoo112

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May 27, 2013
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Kind of ignorant to the nature of software development. Bugs are going to exist, especially with PC game where you target multiple architecture.

I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the difference between a large game with "some bugs" and games being release as a total broken shitfest, like Assassins Creed Unity, DriveClub or Arkham Knight PC. Right?
 

Milchmann

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Jul 31, 2011
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For some media, it actually is illegal to own it, but most of that would probably not be on Steam anyway. But yes, usually it's just selling that's banned, or even more common, advertisement for these products (but that de facto means it won't be sold at most places).

Actually the only medium that is illegal to own is child pornography. For all other media distribution can be illegal, but not ownership.
 

Tacitus_

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Dec 7, 2008
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Kind of ignorant to the nature of software development. Bugs are going to exist, especially with PC game where you target multiple architecture.

It would be even more bizarre to have products that are immune to consumer protection laws.
 

TeddyBoy

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Feb 15, 2013
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This all depends on the final draft of the law. Until that happens, no one can say how things would play out.

If it means that the EU must be treated as a single licensing territory, then there would no longer be "a German Netflix" or "a Dutch Netflix" there would just be "an EU Netflix" and all EU users would get the same catalog.

If it means that EU states remain individual licensing territories, then yes, it would effectively force a geo-lock on Netflix (and other streaming provider) accounts.

If the EU does become one licensing territory for IP (books, music, movies, games, etc.) it will mean a huge consolidation across a number of companies. It would be GREAT news for streaming companies like Netflix, Google, Amazon, Sky, etc., but would cause a bit of a shitstorm among IP license holders across the EU as it is currently possible for different companies to have different rights to provide content in different parts of the EU (hence why you get Geo-blocking today).

I would prefer if they just made one EU block, would certainly make getting European music easier for myself.

Would be a little crazy being able to legally watch french Sky Sports 1 as well, I imagine if they combined the EU internet licensing agreements it would cause the huge ramifications across all other forms of media and the EU would probably have to work on combining all of those later as well.
 

Zibrahim

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Jul 23, 2010
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This could potentially change gaming altogether.

If you return a game, does the supplier refund you or the publisher? Because if it's the former, they simply won't carry broken games. If it's the latter, they might push for online sales only.

But even then, they could refund customers and lose millions in revenue for selling incomplete games.

This is insane.
 

injurai

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Oct 18, 2011
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I'm sure I don't have to explain to you the difference between a large game with "some bugs" and games being release as a total broken shitfest, like Assassins Creed Unity, DriveClub or Arkham Knight PC. Right?

It would be even more bizarre to have products that are immune to consumer protection laws.

Right. I had euro jank in my mind when I write that.
 

Xando

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This could potentially change gaming altogether.

If you return a game, does the supplier refund you or the publisher? Because if it's the former, they simply won't carry broken games. If it's the latter, they might push for online sales only.

But even then, they could refund customers and lose millions in revenue for selling incomplete games.

This is insane.

Well why would gaming be any different than every other industry. If other companies fuck up they have to pay for it aswell (see VW for example).
If they release shit shows like AC Unity or Arkham Knight (PC) they deserve to lose millions.
 

spwolf

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Feb 15, 2007
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This could potentially change gaming altogether.

If you return a game, does the supplier refund you or the publisher? Because if it's the former, they simply won't carry broken games. If it's the latter, they might push for online sales only.

But even then, they could refund customers and lose millions in revenue for selling incomplete games.

This is insane.

This kind of over-regulation never works. Everyone down to the developer will be affected by this.

I would guess that small developers would be in biggest danger, since Steam would have to incorporate some kind of automated refund system where you can click button and get your money back.

In the end, people would use it to try games and "return" them if they dont absolutely love them. Heck, if I had easy way to return games, I would likely return 80% of my purchases, for instance FIFA 16 I got for the kids few days back.
 

Mindwipe

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Mar 6, 2012
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We were talking about law, not Netflix's TOS.

You are committing a civil tort by accessing the copyrighted material without permission of the rightsholder, which you do not have by virtue of being in breach of the TOS.

So it's not a crime, but it is a breach of the law.
 
Jan 28, 2007
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So hang on, EU is trying to introduce a law where Netflix HAS TO tie my account to the Netherlands and can no longer offer me another country's content, where as I can currently freely switch between regions and get different contents?

Thank you EU, for once again trying to fuck up a good thing.

No, this is about availability versus no availability. It means you'll have access to the material you would be unable to reach in a location that under current law blocks that off whole.
It would mean nothing to you switching regions on an arbitrary nature. I'm fairly sure people in Poland have no problem using region proxies to access Netflix either, after all. All it means -as far as I can tell- is that if you travel there with a device set to another region, you can still access it based on that region, whereas currently it would block your access based on your current location.
 

Irminsul

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Aug 14, 2012
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Actually the only medium that is illegal to own is child pornography. For all other media distribution can be illegal, but not ownership.
Are you sure? I'm thinking of media falling under criminal law (§130 / 131 of the German criminal code – hate crimes / depiction of violence), isn't that illegal to possess?
 

Tacitus_

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Dec 7, 2008
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I would guess that small developers would be in biggest danger, since Steam would have to incorporate some kind of automated refund system where you can click button and get your money back.


please tell me you're joking
 

Syriel

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Sep 21, 2009
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I would prefer if they just made one EU block, would certainly make getting European music easier for myself.

Would be a little crazy being able to legally watch french Sky Sports 1 as well, I imagine if they combined the EU internet licensing agreements it would cause the huge ramifications across all other forms of media and the EU would probably have to work on combining all of those later as well.

If the EU became one block for IP, it would likely end up similar to the US, where national providers would only have to negotiate once with rights holders. There would still be stuff that is exclusive to one or more providers, but it would likely be with the same providers across the whole of the EU.
 

CadetMahoney

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Mar 14, 2009
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They still have no consequences really, they just stagger launch, release in the US, patch, patch again then release in Europe.
They would take that into account and adjust accordingly, the only thing that would be of consequence for releasing buggy games is if the US also followed this and banned it stopping the devs getting ANYTHING for a buggy game but until that happened it's just a normal cycle of release broken game, profit, fix, more profit

"Will wait for Yurop™ patch".
 

spwolf

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Feb 15, 2007
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If the EU became one block for IP, it would likely end up similar to the US, where national providers would only have to negotiate once with rights holders. There would still be stuff that is exclusive to one or more providers, but it would likely be with the same providers across the whole of the EU.

it is not possible for it to be one block for IP because media rights are not done on EU basis but on country by country basis... furthermore, it is not possible to make them on EU basis, since there are different companies in these countries buying rights and they dont exists in most other countries.

There is probably not a single EU media company that operates in 50% of EU, let alone 90%-100% of EU.

as they say in the article:

When travelling across the EU, users will have access to their music, films and games as if they were at home (see factsheet on the new rules).

so it will let you use (your) Netflix no matter where you are in the EU.

This is actually good. It means you will be able to buy UK Netflix and use it anywhere you want in EU without having to use and pay for VPN that lets you do that.

Or for instance I will be able to buy my IPTV service and use it when I am traveling around without them blocking it to my home country like they do now... right now, media rights holders are requiring them to block it so this would delete that part of the contract.
 

Syriel

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Sep 21, 2009
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so it will let you use (your) Netflix no matter where you are in the EU.

This is actually good. It means you will be able to buy UK Netflix and use it anywhere you want in EU without having to use and pay for VPN that lets you do that.

Or for instance I will be able to buy my IPTV service and use it when I am traveling around without them blocking it to my home country like they do now... right now, media rights holders are requiring them to block it so this would delete that part of the contract.

It is possible for the EU to be a single IP block if the governments want it to be so. If it isn't, then you're never going to get rid of geoblocking in the EU.

What you're talking about would actually be a NEGATIVE for most in the EU as it would severely limit their choice. For example, right now a UK subscriber to Netflix and travel throughout the EU and use Netflix. They also have the option of using a VPN while in the UK and getting access to the Dutch Netflix catalog, the German Netflix catalog, etc. etc.

What you are proposing would mean that the same UK Netflix subscriber would be limited to the UK catalog no matter what. A VPN would be useless. And the only people who would be eligible to subscribe to UK Netflix under such a scheme would be UK residents.

Your suggested scheme would further entrench geoblocking, not remove it.
 

Diablos

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Jun 6, 2004
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Most software are technically unfeasible to have bug free. You are looking at an application stack that sits on too many abstraction layers between software and hardware where things can go wrong given the right combinations of completely valid conditions that may be controlled by the user's behavior. It's simply impossible to test all of these user behaviors and design patterns (especially in videogames) that prioritize performance over the low probability of failure are also common place. It sucks that bugs happen but its a byproduct of applications becoming more complex to allow cooler and richer experiences. It's not as simple as people try to make it seem and to strap a money back guarantee on something that is theoretically impossible to guarantee is a bad move.
True, but I would think the law would only allow for a reasonable amount of problems in order to qualify. An obscure bug probably would not count, but if the game ships basically completely broken/unfinished, that's on the devs.
 
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