Region Codes and the Territorial Mess

79 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2012 Last revised: 26 Sep 2012

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: March 20, 2012


Tourists, frequent travelers, and foreign film aficionados hate DVD region codes with a passion. Written for the 30th Anniversary Symposium of the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, this article critically examines the expediency of using region-based restrictions to protect copyrighted media content.

The article begins by closely examining four justifications for the deployment of DVD region codes: sequential release; price discrimination; distribution and licensing agreements; and censorship ratings and regulatory standards. It also identifies four areas in which DVD region codes have created unintended consequences: consumption, competition, cultural rights, and censorship.

The article then advances three proposals to address the shortcomings of DVD region codes: the voluntary removal of these codes; the provision of affordable multiregion players; and the introduction of a right to circumvent. It concludes by warning that, with the proliferation of streaming platforms, device-embedded applications, and cloud computing, region-based restrictions could have a more significant impact on consumers in the near future.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., Region Codes and the Territorial Mess (March 20, 2012). Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 30, pp. 187-264, 2012, Drake University Law School Research Paper No. 12-19, Available at SSRN:

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States


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