In Australia, just about all the major electronics companies sell their DVD players region-free, out of the box. That includes Sony, Pioneer, etc., and the same models that are sold region-locked elsewhere in the world. Why? A decision by the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) ruled that region coding was anti-competitive. Here’s a quote:
The court noted that region coding does not prevent or inhibit the copying of games and is therefore not worthy of protection under Australian Copyright Law. This decision may set a precedent if the courts consider the issue of region coding measures present in other forms of digital media, such as DVD’s. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that DVD player modification chips enable the illegal copying of DVD’s.
They’ve also ruled that modding your PlayStation to play overseas games is legal – the same document has details.
Lastly, to prove that some politicians get it – Kate Lundy talks sense about open source, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, and the impact of the Free Trade Agreement with the US.