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Netflix is cracking down on VPN users but other people are being caught in the cross-fire

Netflix is only showing Netflix Original content to people it thinks are using a VPN.

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Image: KnowTechie

The ‘war’ between Netflix and users that use VPN services to access its content just kicked up a gear. Netflix has started blocking more VPN services, but the blocks don’t stop there. Some residential IP blocks are also being caught up in the blocking, leaving many legitimate users out in the cold.

The battlegrounds started around six years ago; when Netflix started blocking users who used proxy services or unblockers to access its services. Those changes were at the behest of, you guessed it, copyright owners saying that people using these services were ‘pirating’ Netflix content that was geofenced.

That prompted VPN services to find ways to get around Netflix’s blocks, which worked until just recently when Netflix stepped up its blocking game. See, it appears that some of the VPN providers were using exit nodes inside residential IP address blocks, which made it look like the VPN users were living in those homes.

The block that the company is doing is to only show Netflix Originals, while shows from other copyright owners are hidden from view. Those affected users have been complaining on Reddit over the last few days, saying things like “I noticed that my account is displaying nothing but Netflix Originals” or “Idk whats happened but Netflix suddenly stopped showing tv shows that I was watching when my laptop is connected to the internet over wifi.

Netflix Support has been replying to some users on Twitter, telling them to contact their ISP for a new IP address, as some addresses are flagged for VPN use, even if the individual user hasn’t been using one.

The thing is, while keeping copyright owners happy is a priority for the streaming giant, it’s also likely it will lose subscribers over these methods.

Anyone who has to travel for work and use public WiFi is going to have a VPN, both to dial into work and to keep their data safe while they’re on unsecured networks. Netflix has to tread carefully otherwise other streaming services will benefit from their heavy-handed use of IP blocks.

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