Microsoft officials in Europe have moved to block downloads of content from the U.S. version of Xbox Live Marketplace to so-called “dummy” accounts – Xbox Live accounts set up by Europeans and other non-U.S. residents to appear as if they are based in the U.S.
The dummy accounts are created to take advantage of downloads available earlier or exclusively to North America, although in the past such instances have been rare. However, with the new availability of TV shows, movies and other video footage on the American service Microsoft has apparently moved to stop the practice.
Despite earlier reports, the dummy accounts are not being banned, but exclusive content downloads are being blocked to European users. According to a brief statement from Microsoft's Chris Paladino on the Gaming-Age fan messageboards: "Details aren't all in yet - but I do know for a fact that we are not banning the accounts. We are blocking downloads in cases where gold accounts are being used to gain U.S. content in foreign marketplaces."
Any Xbox Live account being accessed from an IP address not corresponding to the indicated country for a given account is in danger of having content downloads restrictions. An official statement from Microsoft on the situation has not yet been made, and no indication has been given as to when video and movie content will be available via Xbox Live outside of North America.