US Netflix Is Being Blocked In Australia: What Can You Do?

Ever since Netflix went global, the streaming giant has been promising to crack down on customers who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access its larger US catalogue. For Australians, it appears that fateful day has arrived. Over the past few hours, there have been multiple reports of VPN users being blocked from the US version of the service. If you're on a VPN, here's what you need to know.

This story was originally published on Lifehacker Australia

Who Is Affected?

Melbourne-based uFlix confirmed to SMH that a number of its Australian users have been blocked from US Netflix. In place of the US version of Netflix, affected users have been receiving the following message:

"You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again."

Currently, only a small number of uFlix users have been affected. However, according to uFlix, this just means that the company is testing its new blocking method prior to a more aggressive rollout. Damn.

It is not yet certain how many VPN providers have been targeted, but it's safe to assume that the company isn't focusing on a single outfit in Melbourne. Indeed, Express VPN is also reporting disruptions. Expect more services to be hit in the weeks to come.

What Can You Do?

If you're one of the affected users, the only immediate solution is to shop around for a different VPN provider — although there's obviously no guarantee that Netflix won't come after these too. We'd recommend avoiding Netflix-specific VPNs such as Getflix and Turboflix as we imagine these will be among the first services to be targeted.

The other option is to sit tight and see if your VPN provider can come up with any workarounds. In the case of uFlix, the company has assured customers that its engineers are exploring potential solutions.

Access to Netflix and other geo-blocked services form these companies' bread and butter, so you can rest assured that they will do everything in their power to find and exploit a loophole. In the words of uFlix managing director Peter Dujan: "It's simply a game of cat and mouse, and this is our job, so let's play."

Is Netflix Making A Token Gesture?

It has been suggested that Netflix's latest VPN crackdown is just a token gesture to appease studios and international rights holders. If Netflix was serious about blocking access to its US catalogue, there are certainly more stringent methods it could employ such as requiring a US credit card and confirmed US billing address. While this wouldn't stamp out geo-dodging completely, it would make it more difficult for the average user.

With that said, we don't think these latest attempts should be lightly dismissed, either. If the company can work out way to automate the process of detecting and blocking these IPs, it will surely implement it if only to keep content owners happy. It's currently early days but expect more headaches for geo-dodgers in the weeks to come.

Our prediction: accessing the US version of Netflix is going to be difficult for a few months. Then things will go back to normal once workarounds are implemented. At some point in the future, the cycle will start again. But we wouldn't panic overly. Not yet, anyway.

Would you cancel your Netflix subscription if you couldn't access the US catalogue? Are you currently happy sticking to just the Australian version? Share your thoughts in the comments!

[Via SMH]


Comments

    Damn, my unblockus registration just ticked over!

      No need to panic, I think that you should be safe with them, they are one of the top providers out there (so says this sum-up https://www.facebook.com/vpnpromos/photos/a.904336372977765.1073741828.904312762980126/931115883633147/?type=3&theater )
      Worse comes to worst, all these providers are going to keep making adjustments - so this is basically just a game of cat and mouse!

      Last edited 24/01/16 11:49 am

        Yeah, mostly that happened when you were connected with (already) spam or blocked IP with VPN service, but as the author said, Express is the best way to access US Netflix From anywhere you want. I'm been using it over a year now, and its working perfectly in AUS, highly recommended. ExpressVPN for Netflix http://bit.ly/1Ukfaci

        Last edited 06/06/16 7:12 pm

          In my opinion using VPN service is the best solution to bypass Geo-blocking and get access to restricted services and within encrypted tunnel to ensure security and anonymity. I am using Express VPN http://bit.ly/Express-Vpn to watch US Netflix in Australia

          Last edited 09/06/16 11:11 pm

    Getflix - choose United States Alternative 1 instead of USA. Problem solved.

      I'm still using their standard USA region and it's still working fine (as of last night, anyway).

        Standard one isn't working for me anymore, Alternative 1 has been so far though.

        How do I get the alternate? (Sydney)

    Dear Rights Holders,

    Let people pay for access to content or wave your right to complain about piracy.

    You can't have it both way.

    Signed,
    A Paying Aussie Consumer.

    Last edited 22/01/16 12:23 pm

      Dear Consumer,

      We don't give a fuck about your concerns. We pay big dollars to corner a market so we can gouge the fuck out of you.

      Signed,

      A suit making profits off the backs of others work.

      Last edited 22/01/16 12:48 pm

        Mr. Suit has a point. Why should businesses have to adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and emerging technology in the market when they could simply change nothing and instead lobby governments into protecting their aging business models through legislation?

          Because whining to the government does nothing unless doing so will garner votes from the public and even then it is to the favour of the government and not the lobbiests. It also implies that said government has the brain capacity to at least organise a fire in a Red Head factory but that's another topic.

          And second, if they don't adapt someone else will and take their market away. As long as markets are open the consumer will find a way and businesses since the dawn of commerce will need consumers more than consumers need businesses.

          Last edited 22/01/16 1:21 pm

            It's kind of amusing that this is mostly what's happening.

            Sad about the part where governments DO actually bow to the lobbyists. Possibly only because it aligns with some other agenda they have.

              Admittedly somethings I think they do so just to shut them up.

              The removal of the 10% threshold was most likely because Frydenberg wanted to save what remained of his ears from Harvey's never ending whining.

              Either that or Frydenberg just wanted easy credit to helping the state of the budget without doing actual work.

              Oddly enough, since the threshold's planned removal shopping online has still grown yet Harvey has gone very quiet. I know it's removal is planned for next financial year but him not celebrating now speaks volumes.

              Last edited 22/01/16 1:29 pm

          By not allowing consumers to access content that they have paid for you are effectively making "criminals" of otherwise law-abiding citizens (by "driving" some of them to find alternate sources for said content.)

        Dear A suit making profits off the backs of others work.

        If you don't care about my concerns then you have just saved your right to muscle in on any copyright infringement case my local authorities bring against me.

        If you want to have a go at me if I pirate then clean up your own backyard before complaining about mine.

        At the end of the day, you suits need us, the consumer, more than we need you.

        Signed,
        A Paying Aussie Consumer.

        PS. I buy your very goods from Amazon so don't think you're not getting anything out of me 'cause you are!

          PS. I buy your very goods from Amazon so don't think you're not getting anything out of me 'cause you are!

          No, no i don't. I'm just a middleman who secures rights then sells on for more gouging you in the process. I'm a parasite who can see that my business model is no longer relevant due to globalization and the increase in digital consumption of media rather than a physical, tangible product. I'm just someone who doesn't want to remove his finger from the pie and will do anything to keep it in.

      Spot on...what is the issue ? Most Aussies i know are happy to pay to view the US Netflix so why are we being blocked ?

        Zealot rights holders, specifically those local to us.

        If not them, then local distributors who got permission from overseas rights holders and are irate that we are getting around their unrealistic markups.

    Just throwing it out there, but theres always the option to just accept it and move on.

    Not going to be a popular option for sure, but its still an option :)

      Man I barely have time to watch Netflix AU content, let alone get VPN and watch US/EU content. That being said, i've seen what US offers and i'm tempted to just go permanent VPN.

    These days I watch what I have time for on Netflix and shop the specials for DVD's and Bluerays. I refuse to give money to Foxtel who doesn't have the consumers interest in mind or buy digital on iTunes or Google Play because of huge pricing and long availability. So hard not to be a pirate in Australia.

    The movie selection on AUS netflix is frankly woeful. Daredevil season two is out in a hot minute. After that, it's probably not going to be worth it, unless the catalogue picks up a *lot* in line with the US offerings. Guess if my VPN stops working I'll just go back to torrenting the shows I can't get.

    Yeah. Reasonably-priced access reduces piracy, just like everyone who knows their ass from their elbow has been saying for years. I'm not going to pay an Australia Tax for one-sixth of the US content, though.

      It's actually pretty hard to tell an arse from an elbow in a close up shot... just sayin...

      Australia Tax? The basic plan is US$7.99 and AU$8.99 -> or US$6.29 at current rates. If anything its a US tax as we get it much cheaper here.

      As for the library size: USA: 5760, Australia: 2092. The AU library has nearly doubled in less than a year (from 1120).
      http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/01/netflixs-movie-libraries-in-every-major-country-compared/

      I will continue to support the guys that are trying to break the regional agreements that the rights holders prefer and look forward to see what they have on board at Netflix AU's 2nd birthday.

    or just download KODI and be done with Netflix

    You appear to be making this call from a payphone. Please go home and use your landline.

    The concerns regarding a company's choice to region lock its content is one thing, but to also discriminate on how communication method? That makes me more mad. If your signal supports logging on and carrying the signal, then it should be allowed.

    Mine was blocked today. Unblock us had it sorted in 5 mins.

    Villainy at finest. Block people from the full potential of the service they're paying for.

      No, they're blocking people from getting more than they paid for, since all your subscription covers is whatever content is available in your current location.

      Plus, don't blame Netflix for this. It is the content providers that force this on them.

        Just one problem with your theory. Netflix don't advertise themselves as "regional". When we sign up, we're sold the full Netflix experience. No mention of limited regional content, and no mention of all the stuff you can't watch. It's borderline false advertising. Many Netflix users wouldn't be aware of the regional differences in content. When I signed up, I didn't know the situation until I did my research and was shocked to find so much missing content.

          Come on man, I dont like the situation either, but that is just ridiculous. Netflix never advertises to you on content that will not be able to watch, so its no at all false advertising. Consumers in Australia are well aware that services offered by overseas companies are often changed for local markets.

          In addition to thetim's point, I would also mention:

          1. You read a tech blog like Gizmodo and you didn't know this? Pull the other one.

          2. Netflix has very short and simple Terms of Use, with a clear link provided when you sign up, that states "The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location". So you didn't read the Terms of Use you were agreeing to when you signed up? Hardly Netflix's fault.

    I use Getflix myself just for the variety and the new content on Hulu, aside from that I'd be happy with AU Netflix and Stan. Mos of the reason I have Getflix anymore is just because I've used it for so long and it's cheap enough for me not to care.

    didnt you guys say some crap about it not affecting aussie customers ?

    1. You're not a paying customer with rights to the content. You're a paying criminal.
    2. If you can't get what you want legally doesn't mean you have the right to acquire it by "other means"
    3. Pirating is not a just fall-back to inaccessible content.

    I've said it once before, why are there all these people who think they have a right to access this material by any mean necessary? It makes no sense.

      Imagine this: You have aids and will surely die without medication.
      You can buy top class medication that gives you a 90% chance of living from the black market.
      You can legally buy medication that will give you a 10% chance through legal methods.
      Which do you choose?

        Ummmm, I don't think you could seriously consider anything you've stated to have any relevance to the access of TV shows and movies. Right?

      Who's a criminal? Which criminal law did they break?

      Making quality content easily available at a fair and reasonable price (as dictated by the market) reduces piracy tremendously. Netflix has shown this.

      Piracy "is" a fallback to inaccessible content. An easy fallback, higher quality than FTA and Foxtel, and available when and where it's wanted. I'm not saying it's right, but it is a fallback that works.

      I've said it before, there's now a known working solution to piracy, why would you make decisions that puts this solution at risk? It makes no sense.

        I agree with what you're saying in almost every way. It's the justification for piracy that I can't buy into. The whole
        - can't access all the shows immediately = so I'm ok to pirate
        - it's too expensive = I pirate
        - it's not the right format = I pirate
        The content isn't public domain. IP is still a thing. Capitalism reigns supreme. And Netflix needs to satisfy rights holders they can distribute content as promised else they too won't have access to the shows either.

      You're a paying criminal.

      Rubbish. Bypassing geoblocking isn't against the law. All you're doing is going against Netflix's terms and conditions, which is quite legal.

      Netflix can't bring any sort of legal action against you for doing this. The most they can do is cancel your account.

      Last edited 23/01/16 12:34 am

        Fine. Fine. A paying no-good-nick? A paying rascal? A paying someone-who-has-no-legitimate-right-to-access-the-content-but-has-a-misplaced-feeling-of-entitlement.
        Good to see someone admit it would be reasonable to cancel accounts that are purposely circumventing geo blocking

          You seem confused. Using VPN means as a paying customer of Netflix I can watch content I wouldn't otherwise be able to watch. It's not like I can turn on the TV here in Australia and watch shows like Malcolm in the Middle. It's not available on Netflix Australia for unknown reasons I don't care about. Presumably some Australian network keeps the broadcast rights and drips feeds random episodes over years at odd times at their choosing on free-to-air. Not good enough. Your labeling as "no-good-nick" of paying VPN and paying Netflix users is pathetic. Our money DOES go to the makers of Malcolm in the Middle, which is the main thing. You think anyone gives a damn about some poor Australian media giant whose outdated business model is feeling the pinch? Cry me a river.

            Woh. I'll just be a little more clear as my point wasn't one of defence of a business model or how rights models get distributed. It's that some how, for some reason you feel that because of this you have some right to the content.
            You just simply don't

          I like to think of myself as more the paying-handsome-rogue type. Seriously though, tape dubbing didn't kill the music industry and using a smart DNS isn't going to hurt the movie or TV industry- and at least in this case money is still going where it should.

          Here's an interesting idea: Louis CK has said before that he is fine with people in Australia pirating his show, because it gets people to his live stand-up and isn't available for most people any other way. His show IS available on US Netflix (though not Aus) and we can even put money in his pocket by using a DNS. How is bypassing some dickhead middleman wrong?

          I play in bands, I've put out albums, I can tell you now that all I've ever cared about it people hearing it. It's nice when that brings in a bit of money too. You know what I don't care about? The middleman making any more money than the bare minimum amount to get things rolling.

          My cousin works on a cray fishing boat. They have to rent their license to fish cray off rich businessmen who buy the licences then make them pay out huge amounts from their catch just for the right to do it, while doing nothing themselves. These are the types of people you're defending. These suits who think they're entitled to easy money from hardworking people while doing nothing themselves. Fuck that.

            I said it above and I'll say it again. I'm not saying the business model or distribution mechanism is right. Not anything about if it is good for the industry or not. What I will continue to say is you have no right to access the content and not is the industry forcing anyone into piracy. If you pirate, it's on you. No one is entitled to the content.

              Look, maybe you're right, but I certainly have no moral qualms about using a smart DNS. My money is still going to the people that create the content. Global distribution is the future and the only option and if violating some terms and conditions (still completely legal) here and there is necessary to bring that on faster (and it will) then so be it.

              I don't know why you keep bringing piracy up because that is a completely different thing.

                And I'm happy to see you as Malcolm Reynolds fighting the good fight.
                😄
                Piracy was more of a comment to the other posts saying piracy is the solution to this crack down

              Simplification for you:
              It's immoral to geoblock.
              It's immoral to circumvent geoblocks.
              Everyone involved's an immoral asshole.

              But WE'RE the assholes with all the power, so if the OTHER assholes don't like it, that's their problem, not ours.

              Put another way: If they weren't over-entitled assholes, we wouldn't have to be over-entitled assholes back to them. 'They started it', if you like.

              (Substitute 'circumvent geoblock' with 'pirate' if you like, it doesn't change the underlying principle.)

              Last edited 27/01/16 5:09 pm

                Couple of things
                It's immoral to geoblock
                No. No it isn't.
                The reason of course is related to
                If they weren't over-entitled assholes
                No. No they aren't. They may be arseholes, but they have the exact entitlement to do as they please in this case.

                  Nono, you're mistaking legal entitlement with moral entitlement.
                  It is LEGAL, but it is UNJUST. Justice and law are two entirely different things.

                  It is frequently legal to do terribly immoral things. That's a fact.

                  And in this case, it is fundamentally unfair to the consumer (ie: immoral) to restrict access by region, to enable delays by region, for nothing more than an IP address difference in delivery.
                  Legal, but immoral.

                  It's entirely hypocritical and one-sided to try and appeal to considerations of morality for infringers while at the same time defending the immoral actions of the corporations who've inspired that behaviour.

                  Without the looming threat of the big stick of law, fairness is a two way street. Don't treat others fairly? Don't expect to be treated fairly yourself. And rights-holders hate that. They'd much rather the law empower them to continue treating the market unfairly, and force consumers to accept that.

    requiring a US credit card and confirmed US billing address. While this wouldn’t stamp out geo-dodging completely, it would make it more difficult for the average user

    I don't understand why this would make any difference, since Netflix content is based on your current location, not where your account is based. I have a US account, but still require Getflix or whatever to access US content when in Australia. And even if you have an Australian account, you will get US content if you are in the US.

      True.

    I had issues with Netflix on my XBone - had to reset Netflix on the device. I don't a VPN for the XBone and I'm happy with the amount of content Australians are offered through the service.

    So here's my problem with this: not only is this decision affecting people doing the wrong thing, it's affecting the people doing the right thing.

    Standard getflix is still working fine for me. Haven't noticed any issues.

    well i got blocked yesterday (PIA on iinet).. tried a few alternative dns changers & none of them worked either.. Oh well i guess netflix hate me so I will no longer be giving them any more money.

    Shame it was working so well, for so long.

      PIA still works fine. Make sure you are using UDP with both ipv6 and dns leak protection on.
      you should also be using AES-256 for encryption. SHA256 for Auth and RSA-4096 for handshake.

    Now I'm anticipating the call from my wife saying the netflix isn't working - iinet, PIA

    The internet was invented to bring us together, not segregate us.
    Geoblocking is a crime.

    im using vyper vpn and can not see usa netflicks anymore :(
    the australian content is shit only a few shows i want to watch. i want us shows like once upon a time, naruto, and lots more that i cant get in australia
    this really sucks

    In Sydney, use Un-block Us ... Last night couldn't view anything on Netflix. Sent an email and Un-block Us reset our Ip..... Working again

    not impressed US netflix now blocked.....seriously....the good tv series etc are on the US netflix but of course not here in Australia...only reason I was using an unblocker....

    may cancel my $14.99 per month netflix yet....

    So far it has only affected Netflix on the iOS device. Through the browser is still available. As soon as it goes there I'm moving to Quickflix because... well just because I'm feeling hurt to be honest. The whole issue here is the disparate delivery and inconsistency in cost of shows/movies or for that matter music/cd's/electronics/etc between demarcation lines. If this didn't exist then we wouldn't be arguing. If I was selling a collection of model cars online (for want of a better example) postage aside, would it not seem an peculiar process if I were to ask a US customer to pay a higher price than an Australian one?
    NOT HAPPY JAN!!

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