Netflix is to crack down on users who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to watch content only available in certain countries. The company announced today in a blog post that ‘in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are.’
To address the issue of members using proxies or ‘unblockers’ to access titles available outside their territory, Netflix employs ‘the same or similar measures other firms do’, but, it says, ‘this technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it.’
International content licensing means that it is difficult for Netflix to offer exactly the same films and shows in every country the service is available, meaning libraries are slightly different across the globe.
In January 2015 there were reports from users that Netflix blocked their VPN connections, which the company denied. Using a VPN to access another territory’s content is not illegal, though it does go against the terms and conditions outlined by Netflix. These are stated on its website and include:
‘You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service primarily within the country in which you have established your account and only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such movie or TV show. The content that may be available to watch will vary by geographic location.’
In the blog post today, Netflix said that it anticipates being able to offer people the same films and TV series everywhere, ‘over time’, but that currently ‘given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory.’
At CES 2016, Netflix announced its expansion into 130 countries, as well as plans to release 31 new and returning original series, 24 original feature films and documentaries, a wide range of stand-up comedy specials and 30 original kids series.