Netflix to shut down VPN and proxy users who try to access content in other countries

15 Jan 201665 Shares

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Netflix, which recently went live in 190 countries worldwide, is to get tough on users of proxy services like VPNs.

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Netflix, which recently went live in 190 countries worldwide, is to get tough on users of proxy services like VPNs that bypass country restrictions to access more film and TV content.

People have for quite some time used VPN or the services of proxy pirates to gain access to more Netflix content.

For Netflix, negotiating copyright deals has to be done country-by-country and often users in smaller countries find they don’t have as good a library of content to choose from as those in larger countries like the US or the UK.

And now, Netflix said that it is to get tough on people who use proxies or unblockers to access content outside their territory.

Netflix declares war on unblockers and VPN proxy pirates

“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,” said Netflix’s VP of content architecture David Fullagar in a blog post.

“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 ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere.”

‘In coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are’
– DAVID FULLAGAR, NETFLIX

He said that while it is Netflix’s ambition to bring TV shows and movies to every territory, it is obliged to enforce content licensing by geography.

“Some members use proxies or ‘unblockers’ to access titles available outside their territory.

“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. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.

“We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That’s the goal we will keep pushing towards,” Fullagar said.

In recent weeks, Netflix became available in 190 countries around the world in a move that will no doubt challenge the traditional TV model. While largely available in English in most new countries, Netflix added Arabic, Korean and Simplified and Traditional Chinese to the 17 languages it already supports.

As we predicted, the move to go global forced Netflix to act faster to crush VPN and proxy pirates in order to honour its legal commitments and also avoid serious infrastructural headaches.

Netflix in New York image via Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com