HBO has threatened to block paying customers based overseas who have signed up for its HBO NOW service via virtual private networks (VPNs).
HBO Now is the company’s Internet streaming service which offers US based customers instant access to shows such as Game of Thrones, VEEP and The Wire without the need of a TV subscription.
HBO had hoped that people would watch its content via HBO Now rather than using torrent sites or pirate video streaming services.
However, since its launch earlier this month, users from all over the world have been signing up for the service using a VPN to mask their actual location.
By signing up for the service, users in Australia, for example, have been able to watch HD versions of Games of Thrones for US$14.99 – the price of a monthly HBO Now subscription in the United States.
This is significantly less than what Australian customers are charged by cable operators Down Under, who according to the Sydney Morning Herald, would need to purchase a premium subscription with Foxtel, which would cost AUS$660 plus a further AUS$200 for installation and equipment.
According to TorrentFreak, earlier this week, HBO began emailing customers in the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany who were using its HBO Now service via a VPN warning them that access to the service would be blocked if they could not prove they are based in the United States.
HBO is not the only US broadcaster to be getting tough on so called ‘VPN pirates’.
As well as targeting VPN users, HBO is also cracking down on piracy having recently put pressure on Internet service providers to demand that customers who illegally downloaded leaked episodes of the new Game of Thrones be officially warned for doing so.
What do you think about this crackdown on VPN users by two major US broadcasters?
Are you a VPN pirate?
Do you use a VPN to access either HBO Now, Netflix or another service such as BBC iPlayer?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Related: Game of Thrones Season 5 Trailer
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.