Netflix To Block VPN And Proxy Services Used To Access Foreign Content

Well folks, it was good while it lasted. We had a good run, but Netflix has now confirmed that it will be stopping its customers form using proxies and other methods of geo-location circumvention to watch Netflix content from a country other than their own. That means, for example, those in the UK won’t be able to use a VPN to access content only available to US Netflix customers. It’s a sad day, indeed.

The news comes from Netflix VP of content delivery architecture David Fullagar, who confirmed that the company knows the reason people use such VPNs and other “unblocking” tools is because not all content is available everywhere. In fact, according to a January 2015 report by GlobalWebIndex, approximately 30 million users were using said tools to access Netflix from regions where the streaming service hadn’t yet become available. Netflix is apparently making progress on improving content availability in supported regions, though it still has a considerable way to go before all content will be available to everyone, regardless of location.


For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.

Understandably, Netflix isn’t going into detail on how it plans to go about ensuring proxies aren’t used to gain access to another territory’s content, but it does seem confident that it will be able to do just that. With Netflix now available in 190 countries, making sure that its content partners are confident in its abilities to lock things like licensing and availability down will be an important step for the company.

The Netflix terms of use already forbid users from using proxies to bypass region locks on content, but that isn’t stopping anyone, as Netflix is acutely aware. This new move will be unpopular with customers and lauded by Netflix’s content partners. If you ever wondered which was most important to Netflix, you just got your answer.


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