Netflix makes its anticipated arrival in Australia today and as new subscribers begin signing up, content rights holders are looking to put a lock down on those already gaining access to the video streaming service through VPNs.
Over quarter of a million Aussies are reported to be using a VPN (virtual private network) and are already watching on-demand movies and TV shows from abroad and in particular Netflix US which offers the largest and most up to date library of available streaming content, which will include upcoming series Gotham.
It’s the United States version of the streaming service which was launched in 2008 that could be blocked according to the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association, a company which represents big names in the TV and film business such as Sony and Warner Bros. This would force those already paying a Netflix monthly subscription to use only the newly introduced Netflix Australia.
VPN subscription services will hook users up with an exclusive pass to their network and this will usually require a browser extension or app to be installed for desktop computer or tablet. This allows users to log onto various privately owned servers around the globe granting access to previously restricted regional versions of on-demand video platforms such as Netflix.
The practice is not illegal and more of a loophole exploited by those in the know. But it’s a loophole that many content owners are keen to see closed and which Netflix has been criticised by similar services for turning a blind eye to.
US-based WWE Network is one such service which also blocks it’s app from VPN use, the kind of thing the content rights holders are trying to get implemented on Netflix users in Oz.