Netflix Is Cracking Down on This Handy User Hack

January 14, 2016, 6:50 PM UTC
Netflix Inc. And Naspers Ltd.'s ShowMax Streaming Services As Netflix Goes Live in 130 New Countries
The website for the Netflix Inc. video streaming service sits on a mobile device screen in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016. Naspers Ltd., Africa's biggest company by market value, is planning to expand its video-streaming competitor to Netflix Inc. into three new continents next year while Samsung Electronics Co. has agreed to include the service on its smart TVs, according to a person familiar with the matter. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
Photograph by Waldo Swiegers — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Video-streaming service provider Netflix’s subscribers will no longer be able to use proxies to watch content not available in their home country.

Subscribers often resort to proxies, or servers that facilitate access to Internet content not available locally, to watch Netflix’s (NFLX) popular shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

“If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn’t be a reason for members to use proxies or unblockers,” David Fullagar, Netflix’s vice president of content delivery architecture, wrote in a blog.

The company said it would clamp down on these proxies or unblockers in a few weeks.

The announcement comes just a week after Netflix went live in more than 130 countries, covering almost the entire globe except China.

Netflix said at the time that all of its shows would not be available immediately to subscribers in certain countries, but that it was working towards resolving that.

“Ultimately, the aim is to provide a service around the world that is more similar than not. Using VPNs or proxies to virtually cross borders violates Netflix’s terms of use because of licensing restrictions on TV shows and movies,” a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters.

India, Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia were among the 130 countries where the service was launched last week.

“The strategy is simple—they have a responsibility to content owners to only show that content in the geographies for which they have a license. Enforcing those restrictions is a Netflix responsibility,” Brian Blau, research director at Gartner, told Reuters.