As I mentioned earlier, I'm returning to Australia on February 1. I have my tickets, I'm now in the process of working out what things I should take with me, and which things I should sell, give away or throw out. I was thinking that I might as well give away my small DVD collection, because it was going to be too difficult for me to view them in Australia, thanks to DVD region encoding (the link is a good summary - albeit slightly biased in favour of regioning). It is so frustrating that a technological solution is deliberately blocked like this.
I've decided that I will bring US DVDs with me in the hope that I'll eventually get a Region-free DVD player in Australia, or I'll find region-switching software for my iBooks's DVD player that will work, that will at least set my iBook's region-switching-counter back to zero.
Although I think that DVD piracy is reprehensible - I was disgusted to hear about pirated versions of the Buffy season 5 DVD set which were floating around in the summer - I also think that it's despicable the way that the MPAA uses DVD regions to screw its customers. The fundamental issue is that if I pay for a DVD, I should be able to use it wherever I am, especially if the technology would ordinarily allow this to happen. In fact, the DVD regioning can only drive more people into DVD piracy. It would be tempting to get a pirated version if I knew that I would have to wait another year for the title to be legally released for Region 4. I'm not saying that I'd do it, but I'd understand those who did.
DVD regioning is also an anachronism when you look at the trend of world-wide releases of new films (NY Times article, free registration required).