Netflix starts blocking VPN access

2014-02-05_1053It’s estimated there are some 200,000 Australians with virtual private networks allowing them to access to overseas streaming giants such as Netflix, but now the media company has begun blocking subscribers.

The move comes ahead of an Australian launch of Netflix in March.

TorrentFreak reports Netflix is testing a variety of blocking methods from querying the user’s time zone through the web browser or mobile device GPS and comparing it to the timezone of their IP-address, to forcing Google’s DNS services in the Android app.

“I have a sneaking suspicion that Netflix may be testing these new IP blocking methods temporarily in certain markets. At this time the blocks do not seem aggressive and may only be targeted at IP ranges that exceed too many simultaneous logins,” TorGuard’s Ben Van der Pelt says.

The changes have been requested by the movie studios who want full control over what people can access in certain territories.

Netflix is expected to confirm House of Cards to join launch titles including Bloodline and Marco Polo for Australian subscribers, but is yet to announce pricing.


  1. @gonzo – the comments are not naive. Noone disputes these activities are illegal but who is going to persue it? The studios are unlikely to sue individuals – the expense & bad publicity don’t make it worth it. The industry is divided anyway if these practices hinder or help shows. The police should not be involved, it’s a civil matter & essential services are currently being cut, gov funding to protect multi million dollar industries will not sit well with voters.DL, etc can be traced already! But little is done about it. The only way to reduce it is to make legal means more attractive via fair pricing, no time delays & global access.

  2. Copyright was designed for the UK book publishing industry and intended to ensure that authors were rewarded for creating interesting works for consumers at a reasonable price. And it is based on rights to a region and media type, which can be carved up and sold off.

    However these days Multinational media companies own the copyrights, use their market power to drive down what they pay to artists. And they know full well how to use the internet distribute and promote content cheaply, use staggered releases and discriminatory pricing to maximise profit, while generating all the revenue in tax havens.

    They donate to politicians to protect the system and get the public to fund stopping piracy by the public. US Congress sets the rules e.g. by extending copyright to keep protecting Disney’s Mickey Mouse and lock them in place with international trade deals.

    The whole intellectual…

  3. Freezenet is reporting that many VPNs are still working for accessing Netflix. And Netflix has put out a statement denying any changes.

    It appears that Torrentfreak has overstated the problem.

  4. Funny all the comments on how rights holder are so naive…

    Well kids, the current laws do allow you to steal – However, answer this;

    Do you think these laws are set in stone?
    If the laws change, do you think studios, channels, platforms won’t pursue you via the courts for infringing their contracts?
    Do you think your downloads or VPN use will be untraceable?

  5. They really don’t understand how the internet works do they!

    It’s Global, and there is always a way to get what you want, the only way to stop people, is to actually turn off the Internet, and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

  6. I don’t understand why the entertainment industry isn’t changing licensing deals, etc so everything can be accessed globally. Eg today: I wanted to buy a digital album that was released in the US 2 months ago – not available on Aus iTunes or alternative, not planned for Aus release. I ended up using other means but absurd when you’re happy to pay but are prohibited from doing so. I think this move will encourage current NF customers to use BT if the ‘Aus Tax’ is applied. It’s closing the door after the horse has bolted anyway, tech savvy people will find a way.

  7. Secret Squirrel

    And who didn’t see that coming? I think Netflix started ramping up their testing in the second week of December. They’ve been quite happily taking money from European and Australian subscribers for ages but, now that they are moving into those markets, they have given in to pressure from the movie studios to artificially chop the world up into separate markets.

    The market fragmentation almost made sense when content was delivered via ship and aircraft but with the internet it is now just a futile attempt to hold back the oncoming tide. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if we had access to the same content for the same price as comsumers in the US but we know that we’re going to get screwed again.

    Fortunately, no matter what Netflix or any other distributor does, there are always technological solutions to bypass attempts to block access.

  8. Consumers: hey! We want to pay for content!
    Content producers: nah, we want you to pay more, wait ages, and we want to make it frustrating to get content.
    Consumers: fine, you can go get stuffed, we’ll get it for free instead.

    I’m sure Netflix will also return all the money they’ve received from users who shouldn’t bemusing their service right? All they’ve done is piss off potential future Netflix Australia customers…

  9. Now that Netflix are moving into Europe and Australia and buying the rights to shows in those zones they are finally giving to pressure from producers to block OS access to US sites.

    Netflix has been contractually obliged to do so, they just haven’t because they were profiting from it. Now they aren’t and would rather drive customers to their Australian and European servers.

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