Netflix to Start Blocking Proxies and VPNs

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For those Netflix subscribers who use proxies and VPN services like Hola Unblocker to access the Netflix libraries in other countries, your days might be limited in being able to do so.

Netflix announced this morning that they were going to begin attempting to proactively block the use of these types of unblocking VPN proxy services, making it more difficult when trying to access the Netflix library in countries where the subscriber is not actually located.

A simple example for those less familiar with this process – If a Netflix subscriber in Canada is hoping to access a movie that is only available to Netflix subscribers in Australia, the Canadian subscriber can use a VPN to make it look like their internet connection was coming from Australia. With that, the Netflix library would change to reflect the content available in Australia, giving the user larger access.

The problem with Netflix not proactively trying to stop this is that it likely makes content owners upset. For example, region by region, content ownership rights shift frequently. For example, the rights to a film series such as Harry Potter vary country to country, so if Netflix is paying for the content rights to the Harry Potter movies in one region, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have access to stream the movies globally. Netflix themselves probably don’t necessarily care about the use of VPNs but the pressure is likely on from the content owner side of things to take care of this glaring loophole.

From the Netflix announcement:

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.

This likely won’t affect a huge number of Netflix subscribers, but Netflix likely has seen an uptick in services offering ways around the Netflix regional walls, forcing them to take action.

Now that Netflix is expanding into nearly every country, Netflix probably has to tighten this up if they want content owners to play ball. No wonder, they want to focus on building their own content library.