Netflix Blocks Virtual Private Networks

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The online video streaming service Netflix is cracking down on unauthorized access of American content from overseas users.

Due to differences in content licenses from country to country, Netflix offers different content to users based on the country where they reside. Until recently, non-U.S.-based users could access videos exclusive to Netflix in the United States by disguising their IP addresses with virtual private networks that would make it appear to Netflix that the user was based in the United States.

Now this workaround is being blocked by Netflix, causing users to vent their outrage across social media. Our own Live and Invest Overseas staffers have experienced similar outrage at having their access to U.S. content blocked on Netflix since returning in the New Year.

Not all Netflix users have been blocked from using virtual private networks to access restricted content. Users on social media have reported still being able to do so, depending on which type of electronic device they are using.

Netflix has issued a statement reaffirming their long-standing policy of not allowing virtual private networks. “Virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restriction,” the statement said.

The practice of accessing restricted content using a virtual private network is fairly common outside of the United States. A telephone poll conducted by Media Technology Monitor found that about one in three Canadian Netflix users had figured out how to access American Netflix content. The poll’s results are considered accurate within 2.2% 19 times out of 20.

Movie studios have been unhappy with the ability of users to access cross-border content and have complained about it to Netflix previously, according to reports. The recent Sony Pictures hack, which leaked dozens of private company documents, indicated that film studios are keen to crack down on the unauthorized access of videos through virtual private networks.

Netflix is available in 50 countries; however, the most extensive library of videos is available to American Netflix users.

For more information on living overseas, read more from the daily Overseas Opportunity Letter and the monthly Overseas Retirement Letter.

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Live & Invest Overseas News

Live and Invest Overseas News covers top stories related to living, investing, retiring, owning property, and doing business around the world.