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A few days ago Techraptor reported on the recent trouble people using VPNs were seeing with Netflix when trying to use the American catalog outside of the United States. These catalogs tend to differ depending on the area of the world, such as, there are movies available to Netflix subscribers from Australia or the United Kingdom that are not available in the United States and vice versa.

People have been circumventing the filters and gaining access to the geo-specific catalogs through use of VPNs and proxies. However, the problem is that using a VPN with Netflix violates their terms of service existing policy, and in other cases angers movie studios who have no issue, punishing subscribers who use VPNs — even if it impacts legitimate streamers.”

To combat this, in the past month Netflix has been testing various methods of blocking VPNs, which have been randomly affecting companies that offer VPN services.

One popular VPN provider called TorGuard has seen a surge in technical issue reports from their users throughout December. Although the blocking seems to be for the moment temporary,  it is speculated that Netflix is just testing their blocking system before rolling it out in a complete state.

UnoTelly, another VPN provider has seen zero impact on the Netflix service offered to their users.

Formed in 2011, Unotelly provides several services dubbed UNODNS and UNOVPN that give access to up to 335 channels including Netflix.

In a press release slated for January 7th, Unotelly reported that their Netflix service had not seen any interruption from the recent Netflix testing. Interestingly enough, the report elaborates on what might be the real cause of service interruption stating, “Video streaming sites such as Netflix may occasionally perform updates that cause DNS customers to lose access to the server. This is an issue that can occur for any customer usinga geo­unlocking service, but can be fixed easily by adjusting his or her network settings.”

What do you think of this recent turn of events with Netflix, and is it worthwhile to use a service to avoid the system?

Jon Schear

Staff Writer

Graphic and web designer by day, amateur digital artist/illustrator and writer for Techraptor by night. When I’m not doing any of those things, you can find me getting extremely angry in WoW as I watch my Moonkin get killed multiple times in PVP or drinking scotch.

  • Dr Dub

    Makes me laugh.

    People like myself using Netflix and Unotelly are paying a Netflix subscription and an additional monthly cost on top of that for the Unotelly fees. In other words we are prepared to pay for the additional content.

    How about Netflix and the Movie studios pull their fingers out, do their sodding job (making money for their shareholders) by having an optional charge for Netflix customers (equivalent to the cost of Unotelly) in return for having access to the wider library?

    So they have two choices:

    1, Make more money by offering willing, paying customers what they want.

    2, Make no money by not giving customers what they want and pushing people like me into the same lifestyle as the pirates who have access to everything for free and laugh in my face when I pay my monthly fees.

  • LazarusLongNL

    From a business standpoint that is a great idea. The issue is, like all international if not global distribution; the LAW(S).

    Every country has its own rules, and every owner (tv stations, movie studios, even private comps) have the rights. They have deals with certain national networks for say, exclusivity for “A show named Able” on “TV channel 4” in “Country Beta”. So if netflix then turns around and says. “Pay 4.99 more to watch A show named Able on NETFLIX.” they violate the agreement with TV Channel 4 on behalf of the studio currently leasing out A.S.N.A. to T.V.C.4.

    They simply CANNOT do this. The law suits alone would bury both the owner. The studio/station AND netflix in legal fees.

    This is why certain US shows ARE on EU Netflix, but not on US Netflix. Because some (or several..) stations OWN the rights. Letting Netflix stream the show steels viewership, costs money.

    So yes, it would be great if we could all just drop the whole shebang and make all movies/tv shows availible for everyone regardless of laws. But it just doesn’t work that way .. sadly.

  • Preaching to the choir my friend.

    The funny thing is how stubborn the movie studios have been about newer technologies. They could have profited from using technologies like bit torrent for media distribution, but they’re so afraid to innovate or change their ways.

  • Dr Dub

    Yeah but look at some of the things I’ve been watching recently…

    Quantum Leap and Columbo! They are on the US library but not the UK library.

    Is there a company in the UK broadcasting them? Well one channel was broadcasting Quantum Leap but then stopped and replaced it with some other sh*t! Hence why I searched on Netflix! So they stop broadcasting it but then cry when I watch it on Netflix?! Er wut?!

    I already have a full Sky TV subscription (£90+ a month with our additional boxes) and that is the full premium package with pretty much every single channel available in this region. So if people owned the rights and were actually broadcasting this stuff I would’t need Netflix!!!! I’ve paid for absolutely everything either way!

    It also said on the BBC News site that in Australia Netflix had sold the rights to House of Cards to another company?

    I can kind of understand if a movie company has already sold the rights to a broadcaster (even if they aren’t broadcasting it and crying when someone streams it) but they are so stupid they sold the rights to their own show as opposed to broadcasting it themselves via their streaming services….what?!

  • Bloodnok

    It’s not law made by the countries themselves — it’s the contents of the contracts that the media companies themselves are writing.

    Because it is their own contracts that is causing the problem, they can fix it — by simply refusing to ever do “exclusive” deals that also include restricting streaming. Then streaming services can be offered worldwide without georestrictions.

  • Nick

    As I stated on the previous article using a VPN does NOT violate the terms of service. Accessing content intended for a different Geo-Location that the Host Account was signed up for is. That means if you signed up for a US account, and then access it while out of country, you are technically not violating their ToS. What is in violation is signing up for a non-US account then using VPN to appear as if you’re accessing your account from within the US.

  • Duly noted and fixed. Though I’m referencing this: as the basis for saying it’s a violation of policy.

  • Nick

    Yah.. I always try to fact check stuff like this when I read these types of articles cause the skeptic in me doesn’t always believe that companies actually get super specific and say things like ‘You can’t use a VPN with our service’ in this case I was very much correct, the terminology is much less specific to the tech, and much more about region locking.

    It’s not that VPN violates their terms, it’s that accessing content outside the account locale does. Go directly to the source.

  • I should have been more thorough on it. I just know TOSs can be tricky things.