Geoblocking restricts access to online content based on the user's geographical location. Territorially based access control is strongly disliked, if not passionately hated, by those who travel abroad frequently as well as those who consume a considerable amount of foreign content. While the past has seen the use of geoblocking as technological self-help, such a technique has now received growing support from policymakers and judges.
Commissioned for a symposium on "Intellectual Property in a Globalized Economy: United States Extraterritoriality in International Business," this article begins by briefly recounting five sets of arguments against geoblocking. The article then draws on the latest developments in Europe and at the World Intellectual Property Organization. It reiterates the need for copyright holders to adopt strategies to disseminate copyrighted content at the global level.
The second half of the article responds to the copyright industries' increasing demands for the use of geoblocking to protect this valuable content. Although the discussion recognizes the continuously geographically segmented markets, it calls for a more appropriate balance between proprietary control and user access. Specifically, the article identifies five distinct ways for policymakers, judges and rights holders to shape geoblocking remedies.