A little while ago, the White House launched a website that allowed people to petition the Obama Administration to create new laws. If they get enough signatures, the administration will at least look at the petition and consider it. While some of them have been a bit…out there (https://petitions NULL.whitehouse NULL.gov/response/isnt-petition-response-youre-looking), there’s a new petition that seems to be more interesting. Titled “Ban the use of region-locking in games, movies, software, and Internet traffic handling,” this petition aims to urge President Obama to ban the practice of implementing region-locking measures in digital media.
From the petition:
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 prevent 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.
The petition currently has just under 2,500 out of the 100,000 signatures needed by Feb. 15th as of this writing. Keep in mind that even if this does get looked at by President Obama, there are no guarantees that anything will come from it. Still, in the wake of the Pandora’s Tower announcement, it would be pretty neat if something were done about region-locking. If you live in the U.S. and want to end this practice, you can sign the petition here (https://petitions NULL.whitehouse NULL.gov/petition/ban-use-region-locking-games-movies-software-and-internet-traffic-handling/XGzyvcVJ). Look for our editorial on the matter soon.