Team shortlist17 Jan 2016 AT 02:37 PM

Netflix to block proxy and VPN access

Soon you'll only be able to watch content available locally
Team shortlist17 Jan 2016 AT 02:37 PM
Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black
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Making A Murderer
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House of Cards
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Narcos
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Sense 8

Netflix has just become available in the UAE, opening access to the video streaming website to many countries across the world. However, some people who use proxies and VPNs to mask their location and access content not available locally have been watching the US and UK versions of Netflix for years.

According to a recent blog post by David Fullagar, Netflix’s vice president of content delivery architecture, the company is going to clamp down on proxies. “If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn't be a reason for members to use proxies or unblockers,” he wrote.

This announcement comes as Netflix expands into over 130 countries, including the UAE, China, India and Saudi Arabia. But if Netflix is available in your country, why would you want to log into Netflix as though you’re in a different location? Depending on the country you sign up in, subscribers have access to different content. For example, Netflix UAE has 618 TV and movie titles, while there are 14,156 titles available in total across different Netflix regions, according to UnoTelly.

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"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, said.

However, the online streaming site is keen to point out that this move isn’t about limiting the number of films and programmes that subscribers can watch, but rather part of a strategy to make more content available to everyone.

“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.

In the meantime, it looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer before we catch some of Netflix’s most popular shows. 

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