Netflix Won't Crack Down On Aussie VPN Users

Netflix's geoblocking crackdown is "doomed to fail". That's the word from Adam Turner at the SMH, who says that the streaming giant would be mad to even make a serious effort to restrict its users to only the region they signed up in or are currently located within geographically.

It has always and will always continue to be possible to find a workaround to access Netflix's worldwide library of content, according to the SMH article, with innumerable different proxy and VPN and DNS obfuscator providers -- and other technological tricks yet to be discovered -- popping up faster than Netflix could knock them down. Even if it wanted to.

This most recent move comes on the back of Netflix tripling the number of countries it is available in, with upwards of 200 regions around the world having access to their own localised version of the service. Regional differences in the availability of content means that some regions like Portugal have comparatively few Netflix titles, and even some Originals series are tied to traditional TV and cable TV networks in those regions rather than Netflix -- the original creator of series like House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.

There's no doubt Netflix's recent announcement about its geographical crackdown is a move to appease its partners in content distribution, whether those companies -- like Foxtel -- are in competition with it or not. Netflix needs to be seen as a good global citizen, and can't be thought of as lax in enforcing the copyright of the distributors it purchases performance rights from. But just how hard it tries to enforce those restrictions remains to be seen, and whether those restrictions can confound the best and brightest minds of the internet is another question entirely. [SMH]

WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    How about their partners step into the 21st century and update their bullshit licensing arrangements.

      People paid good money for those distribution rights, dammit, and they want a return on that investment!

      It's bullshit, but money changed hands, so... Don't expect industry to listen to reason til they're done listening to money.

        Well, people pay for the Netflix subscription and it's not like they are pirating the content, so yeah it's about time licensing agreements are made worldwide. Also, not to forget net neutrality, everyone, everywhere has the right to have the same content for streaming.

          Forever a pipe dream until: The practice of selling a product/service in one country for a higher price in another is made illegal.

          That will never change.

          I agree with your point, but FYI net neutrality is not about allowing the same content globally. Look it up on wiki, it can explain it better than I can!

      Won't happen anytime soon. I firmly believe that there will be a power shift from content producers over the next 10 years. Netflix is making huge strides, investing literally a billion $$ into new shows in the upcoming year if they keep this up and it is profitable for them you can be sure as shit that it will draw talent from existing content producers from cable channels which will lead to poorer shows and that power shift i was talking about. Time will tell.

      Not to mention that Netflix has been so successful at reducing piracy as well. Everywhere netflix has been implemented piracy has dropped. Not by just a small margin - a significant one (reports vary from each region but in au they reckon around 25%).

        Agree. E.g. the old Top Gear UK crew starting in Amazon.

    It may be mad but they've already done it. There's a thread on the Getflix Facebook page about it, with a lot of people reporting lost access to content from other regions. Have personally tested it with two devices side by side, one configured with default DNS and one configured with Getflix and can confirm both are the same.

      When I saw this article on SMH, I wanted to do this:
      Netflix won't will totally crack down on Aussie VPN users until workarounds are put in place.

      I'm not too happy about SMH moving in to clickbait headlines - thought that was more the domain of News Corp.

      Last edited 18/01/16 1:05 pm

        I don't know that I'd call the half-hearted blocking of a few VPN exit nodes as a crackdown though, to be honest. This is a dance Netflix does every year, the moves are all the same:

        1. Announce that geoblock workarounds will be shut down.
        2. Make the bare minimum effort required to get some numbers (eg. 5000 users blocked, even though they'll all be back on a different IP the next day).
        3. Give those numbers to the studios who are putting pressure on Netflix.
        4. Remind the studios that it's impossible to prevent geoblock workarounds, that every action Netflix takes is a stop-gap at best, and that the studios should focus on removing regional discrimination and stop negotiating exclusive contracts with regional providers like Foxtel.
        5. Studios are happy that there's some reduction, but completely ignore Netflix's advice. Over the next 12 months they become increasingly more agitated at all these stories about people accessing content outside their region. It comes to a head again, they try to put pressure on Netflix to do more about it. Return to step 1.

      Both the same as in you can or can't access other regions? I can access US Netflix via my usual DNS provider.

        Who's your provider? I used to be able to see different content if I changed from one DNS provider to the other. Now I get the same content from both.

      when did it start, I was watching Jupiter Ascending (don't judge me) on Saturday without issues, did it happen in the last 24/48 hours?

        Jupiter Ascending is probably available to whoever will watch it (actually I watched it too it's not that bad). Started over the weekend.

          Jupiter ascending however wasn't available on Aus Netflix, it was only available on Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Finland Netflix (I had my provider set to Finland).
          The more important news in this conversation however is that there is another person who doesn't think Jupiter Ascending is as bad as the rap it got :)

          I accidentally walked into the wrong cinema and ended up watching it too. I was pretty happy i ended up watching that.

      My VPN is still working. just tried 3 different countries and all came up with separate content

        Mine also, though it's probably best I don't mention which one I'm using since I don't want to draw too much attention to it.

    I don't region hop myself, but I understand why people do. Content owners need to stop with exclusive deals and licences and allow Netflix to have world wide streaming rights.

      I agree with this. Most Australians do.
      The distance between countries is only hours by flights, we are only limited by cost. What good reason is there for something, which is now solely in data form, to be delayed by months or years? You are not mailing a hardcopy, nor reproducing one. And a license is the limiting factor? For not even up-to-date content? Of course people are going to circumvent it and do it anyway.

      Last edited 18/01/16 1:18 pm

        It's just an old world business model. Globalization has essentially killed it. What they would do is have release windows (could be years apart) so they'd continue getting a return on investment many years later down the road. It also helped stop knee jerk reactions - they could change marketing or make adjustments to coax people to see it after getting feedback from a region.

          that is just like in the good old days of VHS we waited years sometimes for a movie to come out here and i just get so annoyed that it is a practice still in affect when with the net everything can be seen in minutes or hours.


        While it remains legal to charge one country a lower price than the next country. This practice will remain. Don't get your heart set on it changing any time soon. Apple & Microsoft admitted they do it because; money.

      This will eventually happen. But some of these commercial agreements are very long lasting. They usually don't license individual titles, but entire catalogues for multi-year periods.

    Netflix are perfectly happy to let people jump regions to bypass geo-blocks - they just can't be seen to publicly endorse it.

    No doubt they will keep talking tough, and keeping playing whack-a-mole with VPNs etc, but their heart isn't in it. Getflix and others will quickly find another way to deliver their services, and the game will continue.

      Netflix are perfectly happy to let people jump regions to bypass geo-blocks - they just can't be seen to publicly endorse it.

      I think this is the crux of it. Netflix don't give a shite but they have to appease their content provider overlords (it was probably even a condition of distribution rights in those countries to make an observable effort to enforce geoblocking).

    Haven't had any issues. I use both unblock-us and a VPN (proper VPN not the Unblock-Us one) and neither of them have had any issues. Skidz are home from school and several of the shows they watch on Netflix are not available in Australia. If it went down they'd be screaming straight away.

    If they were serious about blocking, they would just use your billing address and tie that to the region you can watch.

      Except that they don't want to restrict you from their service if you are in another country say ... on business or something. That wouldn't be cool.

      +1 that's why you can't get Amazon Instant or CBS All Access in Australia unless you at some point have managed to acquire an american credit card with an american billing address.

        ... which is totally trivial to do.

          Please explain how I can obtain a US credit card with a US billing address when I've never even set foot in the country.

            The most common way is to buy a US-issued prepaid visa.

      Because everybody would use a legit billing address, amirite?!

        It's a bit hard to fake the address on your credit card or paypal account. These are the things they can check.

        Plus under that scenario you would need a seperate netflix account for every region you wanted to watch content in, Australia, US, UK, etc. I'm not OK with paying $36 a month to watch netflix (12 * 3)

        Last edited 20/01/16 10:31 am

    I'm ok with access rights, I'm just not ok with Exclusive Access rights. That's where the problem is in the system.

    Didn't Hulu do this like a year or two ago? I remember I couldn't watch it for a day before Unblock-us fixed it.

      Yes and exactly the same will happen here. There might be a short outage on some methods, then we'll all keep watching while the US studios believe we are blocked, until the next lot of research comes out showing how many users outside the US watch US netflix and then we get back on this merry-go-round again.

      Until the day comes when the studios either fold (unlikely) or give up and release all content around the world at once (possibly raising the price of streaming services everywhere to compensate themselves)

    I have had U.S netflix for the past few years before it even arrived to Australia.

    When the Australian version arrived, I quickly determined how crap and limited it was and I quickly wen back to the america version.

    If Netflix choose to make it harder for Aussies to enjoy the much better content like other countries can, I think I rather ditch the service altogether !!!

    I suppose time will tell as to why Netflix decide to do.

      Did you stop paying Neflix US and signed up for Netflix Aus?

        I know I didn't. If they ever start linking regions to accounts I don't want to be locked to Aus, plus I'm grandfathered into the old cheaper multi screen HD plans on the US so changing to AU would be more expensive.

          It was more expensive to pay for US Netflix (currency converison + fee) than to pay for Aus Netflix, so I closed the US and signed up for Aus Netflix (HD plan, $12). Not only did I save a couple bucks a month, I helped add to the Aus Netflix update stat.

          What costs more, US$12 or AU$12?

            I'm paying US$8 or something from before they revamped the plans and added 4k. I think I have another year grandfathered in the old plans before being kicked into the new. New plan has more screens at the same time though.

            Last edited 20/01/16 4:01 pm

              Fair enough. When I signed up for Netflix in the US they had the current 2 screens/HD plan for $12 IIRC, so it was cheaper for me to get Netflix Aus plus add my +1 to their graph. US$8 is about $11-12 Aussie (plus any conversion/other fees), so might as well sign up to Aus Netflix eh?

                Nope. I have to quit Netflix, wait for my month to expire, lose my profile and sign up fresh under AU. I'll do it if they ever block AU credit cards, but otherwise I get zero benefit and it's slightly a pain in the arse. You want to support Netflix AU, I want to stick it to the AU distributors who assist in making Australians pay more for less later. I don't want to spend my media consumption money in Australia except for genuine local content. I want the distributors to die.

                Last edited 20/01/16 4:37 pm

        I signed up for Netflix Aus and am signed in to Netflix US with a legal router 'tweak' from Aus.

      Is it as simple as having a VPN then signing up to the american netflix?

    Wether it is Netflix, Amazon prime or any of the others. the landscape of media distribution is changing and quite rapidly however until old school corporations like Foxtell that insist on continuing to use 20 year old licensing models catch up we will be forced to "circumvent" local licensing agreements.

    GOT, autonomous driving vehicles, world peace and worldwide licensing are coming! (in that order)

    as of today i've been locked out of netflix because it's detected my PIA VPN. :(

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