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White House petition: ban region-locking

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
2
0
Kyoto, Japan
Please sign here and help share this around on Facebook, Twitter, other sites, and in media: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pe...ftware-and-internet-traffic-handling/XGzyvcVJ

Upvote on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/16qmss/white_house_petition_ban_regionlocking/
Also, be sure to follow @EndRegionLock on Twitter.

Now for the UK! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44721

Ban the use of region-locking in games, movies, software, and Internet traffic handling.

We live in a globally-interconnected, digital society. Information about products and services available in other countries can be easily accessed, generating demand. However, the implementation of region locks prevents consumers from exercising their right to choose to import digital goods and services from abroad, whether in the form of physical media or purely as data.

Preventing the sales of books across borders would be absurd, yet this happens regularly with digital media. Neither the assumption of consumers' language abilities nor the lack of coordinated international publishing should strip consumers of their right to choose their purchases. Electronic devices designed to run or display certain types of media ought not to intentionally refuse to function, and regulation is needed.

100 signatures @ ~3:00 am EST 1/17
200 signatures @ ~5:30 am EST 1/17
300 signatures @ ~9:00 am EST 1/17
400 signatures @ ~10:20 am EST 1/17
500 signatures @ ~11:40 am EST 1/17
600 signatures @ ~1:00 pm EST 1/17
1000 signatures @ ~7:45 pm EST 1/17
1100 signatures @ ~8:25 pm EST 1/17
1200 signatures @ ~9:15 pm EST 1/17
1300 signatures @ ~10:30 pm EST 1/17
1400 signatures @ ~11:30 pm EST 1/17
1500 signatures @ ~1:00 am EST 1/18
1600 signatures @ ~3:30 am EST 1/18
1700 signatures @ ~8:00 am EST 1/18
1800 signatures @ ~10:30 am EST 1/18
1900 signatures @ ~1:00 pm EST 1/18
2200 signatures @ ~10:40 pm EST 1/18
2300 signatures @ ~4:00 am EST 1/19
2400 signatures @ ~12:00 pm EST 1/19
2600 signatures @ ~12:15 am EST 1/20
2700 signatures @ ~10:15 am EST 1/20
2900 signatures @ ~4:45 am EST 1/21
3000 signatures @ ~7:00 pm EST 1/21
4000 signatures on 2/7

Coverage:
CVG World
Examiner
GamersLandingZone
Gaming Union
Gimme Gimme Games
GotGame
HieroGraphix Game Journal
Japan Gaming Guide
Kotaku
Maxconsole
Menéame
Operation Rainfall
Stick Skills
Ubergizmo
 

PorygonVandal

Member
May 30, 2012
1,719
3
580
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the best thing that could come from this an end to region locking of NTSC-U/Region 1 stuff? No US law is going to keep, say, Japanese 3DS games from being region locked.

But if the device is region free then there should be no problem.
 

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
2
0
Kyoto, Japan
Ultimately, there'd have to be bilateral legislative action, but you have to start somewhere. A US-side ban on region-locking would require that products sold in the US wouldn't prevent you from playing imported digital media.

That is, US-region game machines would be required to play games from all regions.
 

t26

Member
Dec 28, 2011
5,499
0
680
So it won't do a thing for Xbox 360 since the publishers in Japan decide to lock it?
 

Seraphis Cain

bad gameplay lol
Apr 8, 2009
24,869
0
0
stuffaboutvideogames.tumblr.com
But if the device is region free then there should be no problem.

Ultimately, there'd have to be bilateral legislative action, but you have to start somewhere. A US-side ban on region-locking would require that products sold in the US wouldn't prevent you from playing imported digital media.

Couldn't Japanese or European developers/publishers just region-lock the games from those regions on the software side, though? Like 360 games do now? The hardware would be region-free, but the software would be locked.
 

metalslimer

Member
Jun 9, 2012
26,528
0
0
Um, this is a global issue, so truly this can never be banned by one country. You would need governments from all over the world to ban it.
 

Seraphis Cain

bad gameplay lol
Apr 8, 2009
24,869
0
0
stuffaboutvideogames.tumblr.com
Hence the request to ban region-locking in software.

No, I get that part, but what effect would a US law have on, say, a Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter title, for example? If the game was never released in the US and never meant to be, couldn't Capcom just region lock it on the software side, since a US law wouldn't affect something not meant for US consumption anyway?

Um, this is a global issue, so truly this can never be banned by one country. You would need governments from all over the world to ban it.

This is basically what I'm saying. If this law were passed, it would only benefit people in Europe/Japan who wanted to import media from the US.
 

BocoDragon

or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Realize This Assgrab is Delicious
Dec 5, 2005
51,646
6
0
This is the country that early on enshrined the concept of a digital lock through the DMCA. I support this, but I could see it being portrayed as anti-business or something to that effect.
 

pwack

Member
Sep 8, 2009
972
0
0
What makes you think you have some sort of "right" to import foreign media without restriction?
 

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
2
0
Kyoto, Japan
No, I get that part, but what effect would a US law have on, say, a Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter title, for example? If the game was never released in the US and never meant to be, couldn't Capcom just region lock it on the software side, since a US law wouldn't affect something not meant for US consumption anyway?

There'd have to be a lack of region information provided to the software from the hardware, or the requirement that it not be the basis for stopping operation.
 

Callibretto

Member
Nov 9, 2007
14,285
0
1,165
No, I get that part, but what effect would a US law have on, say, a Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter title, for example? If the game was never released in the US and never meant to be, couldn't Capcom just region lock it on the software side, since a US law wouldn't affect something not meant for US consumption anyway?



This is basically what I'm saying. If this law were passed, it would only benefit people in Europe/Japan who wanted to import media from the US.

why would japan region lock their locally released games? we have simple reason why they region lock US localized games, because reverse importing is eating their profit, not the same case for games released only in Japan.
 

t26

Member
Dec 28, 2011
5,499
0
680
why would japan region lock their locally released games? we have simple reason why they region lock US localized games, because reverse importing is eating their profit, not the same case for games released only in Japan.

Because they might want to allow a Western publisher to pick up their games. Cave was forced to locked their games that might get a Western release.
 
Mar 10, 2005
50,827
5
0
www.theimrankhan.com
This is a request for feedback from White House policy experts and a push for executive and/or legislative action.

Is this written on the petition page somewhere? I have checked a few times, but I am willing to admit that maybe I missed it.

All I see is vague mentions or regulation and a call on the administration to ban it, a process I don't really see outlined or explained.
 

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
Jun 18, 2009
62,410
10
1,115
Sounds like alot of mental gymnastics since where do you draw the line at what a foreign company could do with their code? I.e, what if there's still region lock in everything but name only?
The line is theoretically simple: any official piece of software published in any region must be readable on an official device availible (without import) in the US. Maybe I'm not very creative tonight but I don't see many ways to creativly get around the "does it play yes/no" test.
 

metalslimer

Member
Jun 9, 2012
26,528
0
0
Couldn't this potentially screw over some companies?

Like who?

Edit: Also what happens when someone buys a japanese 3ds in japan and then comes back to america. If it is banned in american and not japan, that system will still be region locked. This is why trying to do just one country turns into a logistical nightmare.
 

Cheesemeister

Member
Feb 14, 2005
10,973
2
0
Kyoto, Japan
Is this written on the petition page somewhere? I have checked a few times, but I am willing to admit that maybe I missed it.

All I see is vague mentions or regulation and a call on the administration to ban it, a process I don't really see outlined or explained.

This isn't legislation, it's a request for legislation. The details would have to be hammered out by Congress.
 

Davey Cakes

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,653
706
1,180
Quincy, Massachusetts
So this thing has a month, eh? That's good. I hope it gets the signatures.

I'm currently playing Last Window: The Secret of Cape West on my DS Lite, and it's a wonderful thing. For a game that's fully available in English and 100% playable, I'm glad that I have access to it in some form as an American. Makes me think that region-locking is really silly if it keeps people from particular content for no real good reason.
 

Zebra

Member
Oct 6, 2010
3,243
0
0
No, I get that part, but what effect would a US law have on, say, a Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter title, for example? If the game was never released in the US and never meant to be, couldn't Capcom just region lock it on the software side, since a US law wouldn't affect something not meant for US consumption anyway?


This is basically what I'm saying. If this law were passed, it would only benefit people in Europe/Japan who wanted to import media from the US.

Wouldn't banning region-locking in a country force all devices sold in that country to be region-free, meaning it could play all software regardless of region-locking? Much like how a region-free dvd player plays dvds from any region, despite them being locked?
 

The Technomancer

card-carrying scientician
Jun 18, 2009
62,410
10
1,115
Is this written on the petition page somewhere? I have checked a few times, but I am willing to admit that maybe I missed it.

Its the purpose of this petition framework actually, its a thing the White House specifically set up. Mind you, I can't recall any satisfactory serious answers they've given to anything.
 
Mar 10, 2005
50,827
5
0
www.theimrankhan.com
This isn't legislation, it's a request for legislation. The details would have to be hammered out by Congress.

Right. But that's not what the petition is saying.

We petition the Obama administration to:
Ban the use of region-locking in games, movies, software, and Internet traffic handling.

Electronic devices designed to run or display certain types of media ought not to intentionally refuse to function, and regulation is needed.

I agree that legislation is what is needed to change this, but that's not what this petition says, and you're telling me a more nuanced position.

Consider it pedantic if you like, but I don't find the idea of putting my name to something that someone is assuring me is different from what is written terribly thought-out.
 

Mariolee

Member
May 1, 2012
22,041
0
0
SIGNATURES NEEDED BY FEBRUARY 15, 2013 TO REACH GOAL OF 100,000: 99,997
TOTAL SIGNATURES ON THIS PETITION: 23

Could we make it in time?
 

JordanN

Banned
Apr 21, 2012
23,122
18,221
1,245
Brampton, Ontario
The line is theoretically simple: any official piece of software published in any region must be readable on an official device availible (without import) in the US. Maybe I'm not very creative tonight but I don't see many ways to creativly get around the "does it play yes/no" test.
I was thinking the game could boot up only to the title screen.