Well, they need every advantage they can get. Competition between ISP's is so poor here that they can pretty much get away with any type of abuse. I was poking around last night - Bell Canada's mid range service has a 25GB bandwidth cap, and Rogers the other big criminal provider, sorry ISP, announced a cap reduction for a lot of users the other month, just after the Netflix rumors really picked up.
I don't think I'll use Netflix any time soon and my cap is 60GB.
It's not exactly regional coding. Its the fact that the content providers know what IP address you are hitting their server from and can tie that to a region. Sometimes you can get around it with a Proxy Server, plus the aforementioned American iTunes account, but it sure is a pain in the butt. Much easier just to use BitTorrent, or other convenient service.
Getting my head around how these patents were granted
According to the link to ZDNet from the previous post on this issue:
"In one suit against Apple, Kodak alleges that Apple is infringing on two patents covering image preview and the processing of images of different resolutions. The second suit is focused on technology that allows one application to ask another program for help completing a computing task. The second suit revolves around the same technology that Kodak sued Sun Microsystems over in 2004. A jury ruled for Kodak and Sun licensed the technology."
Really looks to me that both the patent office and the jury screwed up big time on this one as these sorts of tasks seem pretty obvious.
This sort of ruling should, in the long run be self correcting...I can see the discussion in the hospital now:
Sick Apeeals Court Judge "Just give me some pills to make me better"
Doctor: "I'm sorry, but due to patent problems exacerbated by you, I can't do any sort of testing on you to determine the appropriate dosage, because your drug plan won't pay the licensing fees to the lab holding said patent."
Sick Appeals Court Judge keels over and gets replaced (hopefully by someone more enlightened)