Netflix, which recently reached 190 countries, has vowed to cut off subscribers who are using its service via a VPN to by-pass geo-blocking.
A post on its site says various content licenses restrict it from offering the same content in each territory, although this remains its aim long term. Original Netflix titles are available in all territories.
If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or “unblockers” to fool our systems into thinking they’re in a different country than they’re actually in. We are making progress in licensing content across the world and, as of last week, now offer the Netflix service in 190 countries, but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere.
Over time, we anticipate being able to do so. 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.
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.
We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That’s the goal we will keep pushing towards.
But not everyone is convinced it will work.
Dr. Ramon Lobato from Swinburne University of Technology told SBS News, “It is impossible to block all kinds of proxy and VPN access.
“Netflix’s likely response will be to block certain IP addresses, targeting those frequently used by VPNs and proxies.”
He said the aim of this crackdown would likely be deterrence, as blocking some IP addresses would not block all VPNs.
“It doesn’t stop geo-dodging completely, because VPN and proxy providers can respond by changing their IP address ranges.
“Essentially, this will be another game of whack-a-mole, where the aim is deterrence rather than total crack-down,” Dr Lobato said.
However, it may make it more difficult for Netflix customers to dodge the geo-blocking.
The move may also see Netflix lose subscribers and Piracy increase.
Many proxy and VPN providers have customers that only buy their services for the unblocking abilities they provide, so there is a serious commercial interest for these companies to also spend time outwitting Netflix.
Titles via Territory
New Zealand: 2043
South Korea: 664