Valve, Bethesda & Co. fined for Geo-blocking

This one seems to have slipped under the radar. In the EU, you cannot geo-block products bought in one EU country, when they are used in another. There is a single EU digital market, if you buy within the EU, you can use the product in the EU.

In this case, the companies were selling the games in the former Eastern Block countries at huge discounts, as the average wages there are lower. Games across Europe took advantage of the cheap prices, but when they tried to activate them through Steam, they were told that the games were restricted to those former Eastern Block countries - illegal under EU law.

Total fines were just short of $10 million. All the companies, apart from Valve, co-operated with the investigation, which is why Valve got hit the hardest. Valve’s attitude of “they told us to do it, so we aren’t involved!” Didn’t go down well with the authorities in the EU.

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Fascinating, never knew the EU had this kind of law. It makes sense on paper, but with widely varied economies between member states I’m not surprised companies are trying to skirt it. Valve seems to be taking the legal approach of sticking their heads in the sand!

Do you happen to know how this worked for the BBC when the UK was a member? Thinking specifically of their music rights. I know if I watch the American broadcast of the UK Top Gear they replace all the music with generic stuff because they can’t license any of the real music outside the UK. That’s sort of, kind of, not really a region block? I guess?

There is an BBC news channel that is available on satellite, but that is about it.

In Germany, some of the BBC series, like Top Gear, Inspector Barnaby (Midommer murders?) and some documentaries are about all I’ve watched from the BBC, plus a poirot from itv.

Having never seen TG or Barnaby in English /in the UK, I don’t know whether they have replaced the music.

We need Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby on the case!!!