It looks like the fun is finally over for Aussie Netflix watchers who use a VPN or some other technical trick to gain access to content libraries in other countries, including the US.
Before Netflix was rolled out to Australia in 2015, you needed a VPN to access the streaming service in the first place. But Netflix has evidently had enough of cheeky Aussies circumventing their geo-blocks and has announced plans to crack down on the use of VPNs and proxy servers, also known as ‘geo-dodging’.
A blog post from Netflix’s vice president of content delivery architecture, David Fullagar, outlines the issues with geo-dodging and why the company can’t offer all of its content in all countries.
“We are making progress in licensing content across the world… but we have a way to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere,” Fullagar wrote. “In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographical location.”
Fullagar also mentioned that Netflix’s methods of preventing geo-dodging are evolving, and the company is confident that “in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are”.
It’s important to note that while it’s not illegal, geo-dodging is most definitely against Netflix’s terms of service. It was the reason a number of Australian users found their IPs blocked from accessing Netflix early in 2015, before the streaming service had been made available in Australia.
The main problem with geo-dodging from a legal perspective is one of content licenses. Netflix pays for licenses to provide certain content in certain countries, and if someone who isn’t in one of those countries can access that content, it constitutes a breach of contract on both the user’s part and Netflix’s – despite the fact that the company actively condones geo-dodging.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you want to geo-dodge or not, but keep in mind that Netflix has demonstrated its willingness to cancel the accounts of geo-dodgers. So if you are half way through a show on the US version of Netflix, you might want to get binge watching.