Netflix Restricts VPN Viewing

January 25th, 2016 by

Netflix is great if you live in one of the countries that offers a wide selection. Many who don’t have been using a loophole to stream, but not for much longer.

There’s nothing better after a long, hard day than sitting down for a Netflix binge. As the number one content streaming platform in the world, Netflix offers services across 190 different countries, but this doesn’t mean that everyone has equal access to the same television shows and movies.

Due to copyright restraints, what you can watch on your Netflix account in the US is very different from what you can view in Australia. In fact, Australia only has access to about 10% of what US Netflix subscribers can view.

Netflix is in constant negotiations with content owners in an attempt to supply everyone with the same content, but due to varying copyright laws in each country this task isn’t always easy. Subscribers have been avoiding these copyright laws by using a VPN as a proxy to access services from other countries, effectively tricking the streaming giants into believing their IP address is based in their desired country.

If that sounds confusing let me explain… You have probably heard of people becoming anonymous online by creating misleading identifying IPs, something that’s very common in the riskier areas of the internet. Many individuals discovered that they could do this same trick to appear to be from somewhere else in the world when connecting to Netflix. This allows the user to have access to content that wouldn’t normally be available to them.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, are independent networks created to provide additional security or to make information locally accessible. VPNs are accessed through a public network, like the internet, but are typically held on a local server. You will usually encounter VPNs in an office or educational facility, wherever you have to login to access data.

Some users were connecting to a VPN based in another country, most likely in the US or parts of Europe that have more liberal copyright laws, to access Netflix. This doesn’t sound like a huge crime, but depending on where in the world these users are this amounts to a pretty serious copyright infringement, something akin to piracy.

David Fullagar, vice president of content delivery architecture for Netflix, explains in this blog post, “If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or “unblockers” to fool our systems into thinking they’re in a different country than they’re actually in.”

Netflix is making strides in resolving this problem; according to Fullagar, “We are making progress in licensing content across the world and, as of last week, now offer the Netflix service in 190 countries, but we have a way to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere.”

Until Netflix reaches this point, they say they are going to do something about the illegal accessing of their content. Fullagar explains Netflix’s attempts to keep up with VPN use: “To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it. That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.”

Netflix is aware that new technologies will soon evolve to connect users with geographically restricted content, but for a few weeks in January and February many viewers will have to skip their favorite ill-gotten series with hopes of catching up at a later date.

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