Please get rid of the @#$%^& region coding on your movies.

We meant to bring along some movies when we came to Switzerland for our holiday vacation, which we’re on now. Forgetting the DVDs was my fault. Not being able to watch other movies, however — ones that we would be glad to pay for and watch on our laptop, is not our fault. It’s yours. It’s way past time to fix that.

Thanks to the insanity of region coding, we can’t play DVDs rented or bought here, because they’re encoded for Region 2, while our laptops are set for Region 1. There are workarounds, but we don’t feel like screwing with those.

But, we thought, Hey, we’re Netflix customers. Maybe we could watch live online. The wi-fi connection at the hotel here is surprisingly good (considering that we’re way back up in the Alps). Alas, when we go to Netflix, it says,

Watching Instantly is Not Available Outside the US

Our systems indicate that the computer you are using is not located within the 50 United States or District of Columbia. Due to studio licensing reasons, movies are available to watch instantly only on computers in those locations.

I don’t know if this retro craziness actually creates any business for the studios, but it clearly prevents business in our case, and many others.

So, Hollywood, why screw your own customers? You have a direct relationship with me. I pay to watch your movies. We have a relationship. Why should that relationship fail when I leave the country? This is the freaking Internet we’re on. My watching a Netflix movie should not have a damn thing to do with where I am in the world. What am I going to do that’s a risk to you? Copy and re-encode it for sale over here? Let’s get real.

There has to be a better way than this.

If you can’t figure one out for yourselves (and, after eleven years, there is good reason to believe you won’t), how about working with customers to develop a solution that involves point-to-point, customer-seller relationships that enable business and support good will, rather than preventing both?

If you’re interested, let us know.