IP address-based blocking (geoblocking), which restricts access to online content based on a user’s location, has become a popular strategy for managing digital media flows and maintaining separation of national markets. A diverse array of online video platforms – from YouTube and Netflix to BBC iPlayer, Telemundo and MTV Asia – use geoblocking to filter international audiences, localise content and satisfy rights-holders’ DRM requirements. For people outside the target markets, the end result is often a familiar error message: “this video is not available in your region”.
Geoblocking is changing the nature of the open Internet, locating users within national market- spaces and fencing-off enclaves of content. But this geography of control is not absolute. In recent years the appearance of user-friendly circumvention tools – including VPNs (StrongVPN, Witopia, HideMyAss), DNS proxies (Getflix, Unblock.us) and browser plug-ins (AddTele, HolaUnblocker) – has unleashed a wave of unauthorised cross-border media activity, allowing audiences to easily access streaming, news and sports services from other countries.
The edited collection Geoblocking and Global Video Culture takes these practices as the basis for a critical discussion of the Internet’s changing cultural geography. The book’s focus is on online video platforms, broadly defined, and the spatial regulation and circumvention practices that are emerging around them. Drawing on insights from media and internet studies, law, geography, and mobilities research, it aims to offer up-to-date analysis and critique of international digital video culture in the age of geo-location.
A further aim of the collection is to explore linkages between different forms of spatial Internet regulation and circumvention. Many circumvention tools used for unauthorised streaming are also used by millions of people to counteract government site blocking. In Turkey, Iran, China and many other nations where popular video and social networking platforms are regularly blocked, circumvention has become a mainstream practice. Probing this connection, Geoblocking and Global Video Culture seeks to critically examine the location-masking practices of a variety of communities, including price-sensitive consumers, early adopters, filesharers, privacy advocates, tourists, overseas workers and political dissidents.
Geoblocking and Global Video Culture will be published digitally in early 2016 in Institute of Network Cultures’ Theory on Demand series, as a Creative Commons-licensed PDF and ebook.
<<< SUBMISSIONS >>>
We are now calling for short, timely and succinct essays (max. 5000 words) that respond to the topic of geoblocking in provocative ways and/or explore its political, historical, legal and cultural contexts.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
* geographies of Internet content and/or consumption
* the spatial organisation of digital media rights
* geo-targeting, algorithmic recommendation and platform curation
* circumvention practices in specific media sectors (TV, film, games, live sports, etc)
* histories of regional controls, parallel importing and unauthorised media consumption
* national/local media and diasporic populations
* futures of post-broadcast television
If you are interested in contributing, please send a 500 word abstract and brief bio to firstname.lastname@example.org by 28 April. Authors will be notified of the outcome within 2 weeks. Final chapters are due on 23 August, to ensure timely publication of our findings. Submissions should adhere to the INC style guide, available at http://tinyurl.com/kczbz25
We also have a limited number of slots available for case study chapters that explore circumvention practices in specific countries. Please contact the editors for further details if you have research to share on this topic.
Email enquiries to the editors are most welcome. For further information please contact email@example.com