The Internet is Broken

Remember just a few years ago when Web 2.0 was the thing? There was this euphoria in the air that thing were changing for the better. Google, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, Skype. Everybody was blogging. The music industry was dying. Newspaper publishers were getting nervous. Social media were just around the corner. It felt like the web was finally short-circuiting a lot of old conventions. Hack the planet!

But not anymore. This is how the web looks for me now.

Country Restricions

This image description is not available in you country.

The wonders of IP Geolocation APIs brought back a thick portion of the old bullshit again. Now, the supposedly global information network we called The Internet got a few borders. It basically became a regional information network. So if you live in the US you might not be aware that in Germany almost every YouTube containing copyrighted music is unavailable, we have no Hulu and no Netflix – not even on Xbox (but we still pay more for XBL). Speaking if Xbox, we don’t have a lot of games on Steam and Xbox either. There is no Doom for instance. Not even if you create a US account. It will track your IP and block any downloads. There is hardly anything as infuriating as following a link to “a video you must see!” and receiving an error message because the guy, who made that video put his favorite song in the background. And you know, hearing that would be a cardinal sin… but not in the US. Probably the most ironic example is the famous Martin Luther King speech. The one with “I have a dream”? Yeah, that’s not available in Germany because some parts of it apparently belong to Sony.

Recently I got myself a Kindle. That’s yet another great example that pushed my buttons. The Kindle itself is not availible in Germany at all. Amazon redirects German customers to the US store where you can import it paying some customs fees. But at least they deliver quickly. But then the Kindle store is horribly crippled. For starters there is no explicit German Kindle store. You need to shop in the US Store. That’s actually what I want to do anyway but then a lot of the books won’t be availible. For example, I can’t buy Huzinga’s Homo Ludens on a Kindle registered in Germany. I can’t even get a sample of that. What I can do is to pretend I live in the US by setting a US address in my Kindle settings. I did this and it enabled me to buy a couple of books the REAL US Store. I thought the problem was solved. But then Amazon changed their mind and decided to start Geolocating my IP all of a sudden. Back to square one.

So get this. In order to enjoy the privilege of purchasing books with my money on the Kindle which I also paid for I need to jump through a bunch of hoops and register to a Virtual Private Networks service located in the US and use that to access the Amazon site. Until they find a way to block that as well, that is. The irony is that I can buy the print editions of said US books just fine. Even Homo Ludens. Free delivery as well.

Why are you continuing to break the Internet like that?! What the hell is wrong with you people!! Who is benefiting from this anyway?

In an attempt to get around the bullshit I’m currently in the process of checking out USAIP. They seem to be easy to use and serious. I noticed both are rare qualities in this business. The upside is that I might finally be able to enjoy all this other stuff I have been missing out on! I will let you know how that went.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

5 responses to “The Internet is Broken”

  1. Clayton Hughes

    Rather than paying for a VPN/Proxy, maybe you could investigate a TOR network?

    Discovering that Sony owns part of the MLK Jr. Speech is pretty bullshit. The youtube link you provided is “Removed for terms of use violation” in the states–presumably related.

    1. Krystian Majewski

      TOR Network – Never heard of it. Just Googled it. Hm, that sounds like a very complicated thing with the potential to actually break more than it fixes. I’m looking for a low footprint, low maintenance solution. Is there a TOR solution that would provide that?

      MLR Jr. – Yeah. I’m surprised it’s removed in the States as well. Originally it was only blocked in Germany. You can still see the comment in the Google cached version:

      “PART 02 BLOCKED BY YOUTUBE IN GERMANY (REASON: Next New Networks/Visual content & Sony Music Entertainment/Sound Recording/AS A RESULT, YOUR VIDEO IS BLOCKED IN GERMANY)”

  2. Matt

    This is another one of those innocent ideas that go horribly wrong. I understand that certain countries will ban certain material or have different copyright laws and will restrict access, but not to this extent. Being in the US I’m only vaguely aware of how far this goes. Every now and again I’ll read an article that has a link that works for me, but the comments are full of complaints from others. I’m sure it’s a good idea on some levels, but it just seems arbitrary.

  3. SebWuepper

    For youtube I’m usin Hotspot Shield, a somewhat annyoing IP anonymizer that finances itself with ads.
    But it works fine. Even allows access to Hulu now. Or at least it did a week ago…

    1. Krystian Majewski

      I tried it but it didn’t work for Amazon. :/


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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