Is Netflix about to start banning customers who use VPNs?

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If you’re in Thailand and use a VPN to access Netflix, the days of you binge watching TV shows such as House of Cards could be about to come to an end.

This is because Netflix has recently updated parts of its Terms of Use, which now states that a user can only watch content from the location where the user account was registered and only from countries where Netflix is officially launched.

The updated terms also says that Netflix will suspend use of its service without prior warning if it thinks customers are violating its Terms of Use.

The key clauses in the updated Terms of Use are as follows:

Article 6c

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. Netflix will use technologies to verify your geographic location.

Article 6h

We may terminate or restrict your use of our service, without compensation or notice if you are, or if we suspect that you are (i) in violation of any of these Terms of Use or (ii) engaged in illegal or improper use of the service.

Frank Underwood

Kevin Spacey plays President Frank Underwood in House of Cards.

Currently Netflix is only officially available in a number of locations around the world including the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland and it has also recently launched in New Zealand and Australia.

However, despite not officially being available in many countries around the world, particularly in Asia,  it has been estimated that Netflix has in excess of 30 million customers accessing its content via VPNs in order to circumvent the geo restrictions it has in place.

Due to complicated copyright issues, Netflix has been under pressure from TV networks and production companies to close the loopholes that allow VPN users to access its services from regions where the service is not ordinarily available.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Netflix was cracking down on VPN users, although the company moved quickly to deny that this was the case.

It remains to be seen whether this recent change to the Netflix Terms of Use signals the start of another ‘crackdown’.

It also remains to be seen how much of a genuine interest Netflix has in potentially cutting off 30 million paying customers from accessing its service. It is unlikely that the company would be prepared to write off such a large amount of revenue, no matter how much pressure it is under from movie studios and TV companies.

Another thing to consider is that if VPN users are forced away from Netflix, it would be fair to assume that some of these users would turn to downloading content from Torrent sites, which would only further fuel illegal piracy and copyright infringement.

 

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6 Comments

  1. LordSnootyandHisPals on

    Is Netflix able technically to know who is and who is not using a proxy/VPN? I won’t mention the other unquantifiable relating to use of torrents….

  2. ChrisWard99 on

    I’m in Thailand and use UK Netflix via VPN. Like the article says, if I get blocked, I’ll just download the shows I like via torrents instead. Surely me paying for Netflix but using VPN is better for the TV companies than me downloading from torrents and not paying anything!

  3. Pingback: HBO is cracking down on VPN users watching HBO Now

  4. Chris Huang on

    Meanwhile, here i am sitting in the middle east and streaming netflix via purevpn.

  5. ” it would be fair to assume that some of these users would turn to downloading content from Torrent sites”

    Nah. I would never do that… 😉