Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Are we having fun yet...

Lack of choice, lack of competition, precedent and the like are not enough.

There is no legal recourse based on refusal to supply an item.

Unless that refusal is illegal. The ACCC has some examples that cover this, but it boils down to "If it is not illegal to refuse supply, then the supplier can refuse supply". My point is, and always has been, is that it should be illegal to supply zoned DVD players in Australia.

Consider parallel importing of CD's. The ACCC fought for and got that through, and it will stay. What makes DVD's different?

Hollywood, that's all.

If zoning wasn't introduced in the first place, we would be allowed to parallel import DVD's. Hollywood created the zoning idea, and we accepted it. The ACCC doesn't seem to fully understand the situation, they just keep telling me that that's the way it is.

And it boils down to copyright, zoning does nothing to prevent pirating, nothing at all.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

DVD Zoning should be illegal in Australia

Did you know that the Trade Practices Act (TPA) prevent practices that restrict consumer choice? Did you know that DVD's are exempt from the parallel importing copyright amendment?


The TPA allows you to select the DVD release you want, regardless of region because different regions get different versions (and different titles in some cases). Check out DVD Compare for the full details. Add to that the PAL/NTSC differences
(PAL Speed up ) and we get a very good reason to allow parallel importing and protection against zoning in the TPA.

So I fire off a query to the ACCC about this to see if they are doing anything about it.

They aren't!

I got a message back explaining the regioning system (which, oddly enough, I know all about) with a single paragraph explaining why they are doing nothing (There is no real difference between regions). I cannot reproduce the entire thing here as they have a copyright notice on the base of all their emails.

The question remains; Why are the ACCC scared of Hollywood?

They are also scared of the banks.

Come back Allan Fels, please. The ACCC has lost it's teeth, we need a champion.

Twenty minutes of research on the web and you can get enough ammunition for the TPA to remove zoning permanently, provided you have the authority. The ACCC has the authority, but it doesn't have the johnstons!

Friday, June 10, 2005

From Sydney


Good morning QANTAS, the world says hello,

Outsource your maintanence and your planes won't go...

The air conditioning was playing up. We sat on the tarmac revving the engine
trying to get the air conditioner running properly. And we still didn't get any lemon soaked paper napkins.
Full plane, already delayed for twenty minutes. No happy people on board at all. Our mid-flight dining experience was a packet of peanuts.

QANTAS just isn't trying to be good anymore. Anyone for a boycott?

To top it all off, we were held up coming into Adelaide, planes were circling the airport, there was some congestion! Alright, it was because of the weather, but for a moment there I felt like our little airport had grown up.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Banks Are Shite

Bank SA particularly, Bank SA Credit card fees (this links to them as they are a prick to find to normally) are too high. Way too high.

We had a credit balance prior to going to Japan. We are charged with 2.5% foreign conversion fee, after they used a slightly low exchange rate anyway, 1.25% cash advance fee, which is wrong as they are not advancing cash to us, the card was in credit, and a foreign bank ATM fee of $1.50, as there is no BankSA ATMs in Osaka that is a bit off. The final tally here is 30000 yen withdraw cost us $378.83, their exchange rate was 82.48, giving us 15.13 in fees.

The ACCC seem to be too scared of the banks to attack them over fees, the government is likewise, way too scared.

All to protect the shareholders, who probably haven't invested directly into the bank at all.

Word to the wise banks: Protect your shareholders by increasing you business, increase you business by respecting your customers, provide service!

Hate banks so much.

We also deal with the PowerState credit union, they are just as bad.

Our business will go to the bank with no fees, when one comes around, not like BankWest who have a Zero Card, apart it being next to impossible to find their fees online, they do exists and are high, too high.

I will post them as soon as they arrive(I had to ask for them via the help line, and they are sending me an application kit, which includes the fees list.)
CPS has it marginally better, in that they do not charge account keeping fees, and you pay less if you have more invested. The fact that they charge at all makes them eviltm.

Copyright Owners and Parallel Imports

DVD's are exempt from the parallel import copyright amendments act. This includes the software amendment act of 2001.

The democrats have specifically called for a definition of DVD in this regard as they want to protect the Australian Film Industry from overseas competition.

Parallel importing does not infringe on the copyright owners rights, we can only import legally from a country that is a signee of the Berne agreement. The copyright owner is still the owner of the copyright.

How does buying a legitimate copy of a film infringe that, no matter where you buy it?

It can't. People seem to be of the impression that we would be buying a US film over an Australian film, not that we are buying a US copy of an Australian film (Not that there would be much point, but still... [Although if Mad Max had been release in the original US dubbed version in the US I might be tempted to get that, but I'd have both versions]).

On top of all this, the importing of DVD's from other zones is completely legal if they are different (eg 24/25 frames per second issues between PAL and NTSC, getting different extras on a DVD, getting a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone outside the US. It's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone over here. Thus buying a DVD from the US is not parallel importing anyway. It is covered by the Trade Practices Act of 1974, that prevents restriction of consumer choice and zoning does restrict choice.