Damn, Netflix Is Cracking Down On VPNs And Proxies 

Damn, Netflix Is Cracking Down on VPNs and Proxies

If you use a proxy to access another country's version of Netflix, you may be screwed. Up until now, the streaming service hasn't been good at stopping them — but that's about to change.

"In coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are," Netflix Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture David Fullagar wrote in a blog post.

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

As you probably already know, when you watch Netflix in Australia and then go overseas and watch it there, you don't see the same list of shows and movies. Since the streaming service has licensing agreements that vary from country to country, it doesn't offer a universal roster — which is why people often use unblocking services to access Netflix's offerings from abroad.

In the past, anyone who wanted to watch, say, the US version of Netflix simply had to install a service like an Unblocker or VPN to access the show.

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Meanwhile, Netflix hasn't explained how this is all going to work in practice. And we've also heard of such 'VPN pirating' crackdowns before.

Top image via Shutterstock


Comments

    well, i hope to see getflix sorting something out to circumvent these new countermeasures. a countermeasure for a countermeasure if you will.

      The sooner they do away with the idea of archaic regional licensing agreements for content the sooner this problem goes away completely. Make your content available anywhere, to anyone who wants to pay for it, and this isn't even an issue anymore.

        exactly... wouldn't everything be much simpler.

          Signed up with the Express Vpn http://bit.ly/Express-Vpn 1 year. I'm in Perth connected to NSW server, speed is great so far. US Netflix is also working when connected to a US server.

          Last edited 21/06/16 1:40 am

        yeah, i wish they would. coz the current situation is bullshit.

        This will take years (if not decades) as the likes of Netflix slowly bid global rights away from syndicates and the likes of Ch 7 and 9.

        I understand some rights go on for years so it could take time.

        Edit for spelling fail

        Last edited 15/01/16 12:28 pm

        I mean... yeah, I totally agree, but... Good luck seeing that happen anytime soon.

      Unblock-us also down now because of this. This will drive foreign subscribers back to piracy for sure.

    We'll see what happens in a few weeks - if they do manage to pull it off I suspect there will be a lot of people cancelling their subscriptions. I'll be one of those. I've looked at what is available in AU and it's really not worth it for me.

    .. Torrents on the rise in 3, 2, 1 ....

      Haha yeah half of my viewing is still downloaded, Plex Media Server rules!
      I'm sure Netflix is being pressured into managing geo-shift. There would be no reason for them to prevent viewing of content from other areas of the globe, other than licencing. Seems stupid to me.

        Yes it is stupid.

        It is Netflix's fault for not purchasing global distribution rights. That said, the market for procuring distribution rights is a monopoly. Only one company has the product to sell the rights for so they screw over retailers. They (production companies) place stupidly high licensing costs on global distribution because they know that their are more buyers in each country. More buyers means more companies bidding against each other and the price goes even higher.

        The negative effect of being greedy means that the production companies end up intentionally limiting who can buy. As a result, customers cannot get it legitimately (including affording it from the expensive local retailer; Foxtel im looking at you!). So customers who cant buy it, have two choices:
        * Borrow it from someone else (I put download in this category because peer-to-peer is literal sharing)
        * not watch at all (also encourages customers to not watch tv (lose interest) which means less money for greedy longer term)

        Personally when the entertainment industry crys foul. I encourage everyone to just not watch it at all. That way you're more healthy for it and you end up with more money in your pocket long run. Who knows, you might find yourself without the need to watch the junk all together and pick-up a healthy, rewarding hobby.

        Last edited 15/01/16 11:15 am

          I think Netflix is given two options - accept the bullshit of regional agreements, or don't carry the content at all. Distributors will claw at the flesh of each other to get exclusive rights to carry content, and the exorbitant amounts of money this commands will beat out any convenient global license every single time. That's hardly Netflix's fault.

            The only reason for services such as NetFlix to exist is convenience. They take that away and you are just left with a bill. I think I will terminate my membership. Their international catalog isn't enticing enough.

        Yes I believe you are right, I was reading somewhere that some of the big media/movie companies are wanting to pull their shows from Netflix due to this very reason.

    If I am unable to use my VPN to access US Netflix I'll just cancel Netflix and go back to pirating, to be honest.

      There is very little they can do about VPNs - most of these VPN end points will be Virtual Private Servers in Datacenters, with many customers on the same internet connections. If they block VPN service's subnets, they will be blocking legitimate users.
      DNS Spoofing, yes they can block that, they just blacklist the offending DNS Server, but I think VPN users will be safe

        I think the block might be based on where you signed up from example Netflix Australia instead of Netflix US. So using anything to mask your location will make no difference. Anyway thats the rumblings iv heard; I could be wrong.

          The product is sold with global roaming, so that if you travel you can access it where ever you are

    Well I'll be cancelling my Netflix. Aus Netflix is shithouse.

      Try Stan. Seriously.
      I am more on Stan than Netflix.
      Kids still watch Netflix cause of pokemon and power rangers.

      Edit: saw your other comment, yeah the lack of apps on wiiu, ps3 or similar means Netflix is easier. But my new lg tv has a app for Stan. Which is good.

      Last edited 15/01/16 9:58 am

        I bought my TV purely for picture quality, at the time the better "smart" TV's had higher input lag, so my Sony has the awful awful Opera TV app store. I use my Xbox One for apps.

        Except that it's not available for any worthwhile streaming boxes yet...

        Got HD? DD5.1?

          I think it's improving. They just added the Xbox One to go alongside the PS3/4, Apple TV, Chromecast and Telstra TV (which is hopefully a sign that Roku is coming soon).

          With Xbox One support I might now give it a go.

        Would rather not support Rupert Murdoch in any way tbh.

          Stan is Fairfax/Channel Nine owned mate - not Murdoch owned.

    im with Awnshegh the australia content is fine for my kids but im always changing to different regions to watch movies..

    maybe its time to check out Stan or Presto again ...

      It really isn't. They still don't have apps on a lot of platforms, and their libraries are still AusGimped.

        Stan now has apps on iOS/Apple TV, PS4 and the Xbox One app launched a couple of days ago. I personally subscribe to both Stan and Netflix and between those two services an never short of anything to watch. Sure, there are shows I want to watch but can't yet, but Netflix is working on that and I'm prepared to be patient. It's not like I'm dying of boredom in the meantime.

          Damnit, I have a free year of Presto, wish they'd release an Xbox One app. I've used it twice because it's basically useless to me not owning a Samsung TV or AppleTV.

            I found presto terrible. Gimped. Locked into devices. Poor quality. And slooooooow

              Any real advantage to Stan over Hulu Plus adfree?

                No, except that it'll survive a VPN crackdown I guess. Hulu still carries major shows long before any other provider, it beats out everybody for that (including US Netflix).

                  Apparently Hulu are just playing the long game and cracking down on international cards, so it's harder to join now, and people are having trouble renewing their card details when the previous card expires.

                Never used hulu, I thought they abuse your ip or what ever.

                  That was Hola - the VPN/geo-unblocker.
                  http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/06/reminder-dont-use-hola-to-beat-data-retention-and-site-blocking/

                  Hulu is a streaming video service, just like Netflix.

                  Nah that was Uncle Hugh, I've heard he abuses your pp.

    It's all show to look like they're doing something about it, since companies like Foxtel are pissed. My best guess is they'll block a few common services (unblock us / getflix) who'll figure out a workaround in a day or two. Or even less.

    How bloody irritating.
    It will be interesting to see how they'll do this - if you have a US CC and a VPN, I don't see how they can stop it (although I'm no expert). I can see how they'd do it for the DNS services.
    I wonder if this is just talk for the benefit content licensees - it can't be for Netflix themselves as they'll be losing business.

    Time to dust off the old torrents.

    It's like they WANT us to pirate stuff.

    Unless they expand the Australian library, I can't see myself continuing to have Netflix. I've gotten more value out of it with having a Getflix subscription in the recent months than any other time. Especially since I can watch shows like Burn Notice in 1080P which never got a blu-ray release at all.

    Hulu & HBO do this... and you can still access them overseas.
    If those services can't isolate their services (especially HBO with their draconian online subs attitude), why would Netflix succeed where they failed?

      I've wondered this myself. The whole idea of separate regions for online streaming is a ludicrous holdover from the old days of physical media. That kind of made sense then when you needed somebody to invest the money needed to store and distribute mountains of VHS tapes and DVDs, but those days are gone.

      The sooner these people realize that and adjust their business model to suit reality (i.e. there's only 1 internet that covers the entire world, not a separate one for each country), the sooner they can stop wasting their money and time and effort trying to prevent people like us from giving them our money.

        It is probably just noise to placate the content holders. Netflix would love to offer everyone the same content, much easier and more efficient for them, but they don't create it all, so they are beholden to the content creators, and if they sell a show to Foxtel in Oz, there isn't much Netflix can do about it, especially deals that already existed before they entered the Australian market.
        Hopefully they don't have their heart in the geoblock and it will be easily circumvented.

    Do they want people to torrent movies and TV shows again?

    Consumers want to access content easily, quickly, at an affordable price and they want to view content when and where they choose. How about the TV/movie industry step into the 21st century and review their whole 'licensing' scheme as it's partly the blame for why people illegally download media. E.g limiting what companies can show what programs, open it up so any company can buy any program to air.

    Look at the games industries, they sell their products to multiple outlets/online stores which provide consumers with a CHOICE.

    The music industry is slowly catching on with iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc.

    Until the movie/TV industry step into this century with the archaic licensing scheme, expect nothing to change.

      What I find somewhat amusing is that in the PC gaming sector we're basically trying to destroy choice by handing Steam a monopoly on a plate for PC game distribution - and demanding more every year. Also people complain when things are spread across multiple providers - it's clear that what consumers want is a single platform for all streaming. Which is the complete opposite of choice.

        I would pay extra for a service that gives access to everything.

        Well, that's the whole thing about the illusion of choice, isn't it?
        Being offered a chocolate ice-cream vs a sponge that's been used to wipe up baby poo isn't really a 'choice'.

        Technically, but not effectively.

        Effective choice comes down to having reasonable options. And commonly implied in the whole thing about 'choosing' is that you're choosing one thing, over another.

        If you want a wide range of TV shows and movies, you don't actually have a choice between providers. You have to 'choose' multiple providers.

    Surely only going to be able to affect proxies and DNS bypass stuff - good luck breaking VPN-based unblockers!

      They'll just block the IPs of known VPN exit nodes.

        They could do that, but it'll just cause them to change IPs and will engage them in a whack-a-mole arms race with VPN providers. Easier to block the easy ones then go back to the asshole publishers that are behind this move and say 'see. we geo-block properly' so they can close whatever licensing deal it is they're trying to secure as a result of this.

          It's more likely they'll just block the whole ip address allocation for known VPN providers

    The blame pretty much lies at the feet of content owners selling exclusive rights to local broadcasters and the governments who allow this sort of anti-consumer monopolization to occur. Want to watch GoT in Australia as it is released? Buy Foxtel. This pretty much kills competition which is always bad for consumers. Can you imagine the uproar if Coles was the only company allowed to sell Coca Cola or Vegemite? Or if Star Wars could only be viewed at a Village Cinema? The ACCC would be all over it.

      Just like how Ryobi is only sold at Bunnings? ACCC said that was OK. https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-allows-exclusive-supply-arrangement-between-techtronic-bunnings

        That's because that's a monopoly over a product line, not over a market. A bit like some telcos having a monopoly over particular handsets.

        You can still buy an electric drill (or whatever) elsewhere - just not a Ryobi one. If Ryobi was the only company producing a particular tool, that would be a monopoly in a particular market and the ACCC could block it.

        Likewise it would be perfectly legal if Coles were the only company selling Coca Cola, since other companies could sell other cola products. Coke don't have a monopoly on cola sales (although they do have a BIG market share.) Vegemite may be trickier as there isn't a close substitute.

        Monopoly in a product line is typically illegal, but monopoly over a particular product category (or market) is usually illegal. Similarly, Netflix could probably announce that they were only accepting subs via Telstra (in much the same way that Foxtel gives special deals to Telstra subscribers) as they don't have a monopoly over the streamed video market.

        Things are actually slightly more complicated with video streaming and copyright in general, as copyright is effectively a legally enforced monopoly - the copyright owner has a governent-mandated legal right to restrict how their I.P. is redistributed. In theory, as with patents, this is enforcing a social contract - the monopoly is granted in exchange for creation of the work so that it can become public eventually. In practice, copyright has been extended out so far beyond its original term (it was originally something like 15 years) that the social contact is pretty meaningless.

    And I recently bought a 30 year Getflix subscription....
    :(

      30 year?!? Have you no faith in future change?

        Well it was just a tad more than one year, so I figured if I used it more than that I'd be ahead.

    It's a shame because I'm willing to bet that most creators of these shows/movies would love for their content to be available worldwide. It's usually their distributors or someone else that have some archaic law in place that prevents them from doing so. (As far as I'm aware)

    Netflix did something similar a little while back. What changed? Nothing. This is likely just a half-hearted appeasement exercise which will see little real impact. Some common points will be blocked, UnblockUS/Getflix/whoever will bypass, and that'll be it. No need to panic.

      Glad at least one person in this thread understands what's going on. Netflix makes this same vow every year, it's just to placate the studios. If Netflix were serious about shutting down people outside region, they'd restrict accounts based on the credit card's country of origin.

      But they're not serious. It's just a performance.

    I'm sure this will just be a DNS bypass crackdown. There's so many free ones out there it's not funny. Force ppl to pay for VPN's, the lazy/cheap users don't bother anymore and you inherently "reduce" geoblock bypassing.

    "proxies and unblockers" are not the same thing as a VPN.

    Smartflix is so good. I hope it doesn't shut down

    Same old outrage... Never quite understood why people still think they have a right to access what they want, when they want, how they want. IP owners don't want to sell their stuff to you... Get over it. Doesn't give anyone rights to steal it. Not is anyone entitled to have it.
    Why is this such a big deal again?

    Well I get everything on my Apple TV that I can if they somehow block Netflix I'll stop my subscription see what happens. But I'll still have HBO and Hulu and the rest.
    If they do force it all to stop I'll just go back to pirating. No skin off my nose, I'm willing to pay to watch things legitimately if they want me to pirate go right ahead and make me it's their loss...

    Hopefully this is a hollow threat just to keep the studios off their back rather than any real substance behind it

    Very bad move by Netflix, I was going to subscribe to their service so that I could watch all the US based contents, but now I am a little hesitant to.

    That's why I've decided to setup my own Plex Media server... See Netflix, its because of bullshit like this that forces some people like myself to download movies and TV shows.

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