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Media Piracy Privacy The Internet

Hulu Blocks VPN Users 259

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can't-get-there-from-here dept.
New submitter electronic convict writes: "Hulu, apparently worried that too many non-U.S. residents are using cheap VPN services to watch its U.S. programming, has started blocking IP address ranges belonging to known VPN services. Hulu didn't announce the ban, but users of the affected VPNs are getting this message: 'Based on your IP-address, we noticed that you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.' Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users — at least until they find new VPN providers. But in so doing it's now forcing its U.S. customers to sacrifice their privacy and even to risk insecure connections. Hulu hasn't even implemented SSL on its site."
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Hulu Blocks VPN Users

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  • Privacy is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:10PM (#46844815)

    How dare you try to bypass our arbitrary and senseless restrictions, and how dare you try to obtain a bit of privacy!

  • If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.

    I suspect, it is the anonymity, that they wish to defeat — to be able to track users and sell the information.

    Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users

    That may be only a secondary concern.

  • by um... Lucas (13147) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:19PM (#46844877) Homepage Journal

    Regardless of the users IP, Hulu can track those users and sell their information, VPN or not. They've got those subscribers billing credentials, after all. A VPN is useful if you don't want someone else looking into your connection, but for the site you're visiting, especially one that needs your credit card, a VPN isn't meant to be a protection from them getting your info. Your ISP won't (or at least shouldn't) have a clue that you're visiting Hulu, should you be using a VPN, though.

    So no, there is no attack on anonymity here.

  • How terrible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Leo Sasquatch (977162) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:20PM (#46844889)
    I mean, it's not as if there's any other sites on the net where you can get streaming video, or canned video, or torrents, or people sharing their favourite shows.

    It's not like it takes about 5 mouse-clicks to find an alternate source for practically anything. No, Hulu clearly have everyone completely over a barrel and we must just do everything they say if we're to be allowed to consume their entertainment the way they want us to.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:24PM (#46844915)

    where you can find TV set the size of the Berlin wall with a resolution so high you can't see the pixels up close, so thin they can be hung on the wall and look like paintings, able to display movies in 3D, almost affordable by ordinary people, and that display content controlled by cartels who decide who can watch what, where, how and for how much, like in the middle ages.

  • by BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:28PM (#46844947)

    Right. I'll just drop Comcast and switch to the other ISP with decent speeds in my area: Comcast.

    Well, the situation is most certainly not the same with Hulu. It's trivial to find another place to watch such videos, 'legitimate' or not.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:39PM (#46845029)

    Also, Hulu is ad-supported. If I was one of their 'sponsors', I might be a bit annoyed that Hulu was billing me for ads delivered to countries where I don't even do business.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:45PM (#46845085)

    As a foreign user I'm happy Hulu is doing this. I've never understood why people outside the US go out of their way to "get" Hulu let's say honestly. It isn't as you're doing Hulu a favor after all. This is a reality call for all. Either you have access to Hulu in a legit way or you don't. If you don't don't worry about Hulu and just pirate the content. The end result is the same as far as Hulu is concerned. No need to bend over 90 degrees to accomodate a corporation that doesn't give a fuck about you.

  • by BiIl_the_Engineer (3618863) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:45PM (#46845089)

    Missed this bit of garbage:

    This just seems like more nerd entitlement syndrome to me. It's Hollywood's content, not yours.

    Entitlement? So, criticizing a company means you're entitled? You're holding a gun to their head and demanding they change their ways, or saying that you deserve everything? If not, then there is no entitlement; just criticism. If you think criticizing a company for its actions means you have "nerd entitlement syndrome," then you're a god damned idiot, and your definition of "entitlement" is completely worthless. I'm tired of people abusing these terms and using them to describe anyone who says anything they don't like about a company.

    As for whether it's "Hollywood's content," I don't believe you can own content, although they certainly try. Problem is, it's not working out for them, and no matter how much people cry and scream, it will never work out. If Hulu is going to kick people off for using VPNs, many of those people will likely just find alternatives, 'legitimate' or not.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday April 25, 2014 @05:46PM (#46845093)

    If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu.

    I suspect, it is the anonymity, that they wish to defeat — to be able to track users and sell the information.

    Hulu may make Hollywood happy by temporarily locking out foreign users

    That may be only a secondary concern.

    No. Hulu is owned by Hollywood. This is entirely about them controlling content. Hulus biggest problem from the start has been all the disparate interests of all the media companies involved in its ownership and operation. It benefits from sweet deals with those companies, but suffers from their idiotically uncreative ideas about how video on the Internet should work.

  • Re:Not their fault (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rogoshen1 (2922505) on Friday April 25, 2014 @06:08PM (#46845247)

    man, while DRM is total bullshit, suggesting someone to do something that almost certainly would end with them getting fired (that's the best case, worse is being sued into oblivion) is just as bad.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Friday April 25, 2014 @06:32PM (#46845405) Homepage

    Why, when Hulu detects a visitor arriving from a country other than the United States, does it not refer the user to the licensee doing business in that particular country?

    Because in most cases, there is no licensee doing business in that particular country. Sure here in Canada we have Netflix, but there sure isn't anything close to Hulu. Same hold true in many other countries, but really since I didn't use it I don't care too much, but I'm sure this is going to tick quite a few people off. It's quite similar as to the whole bit with HBO and Game of Thrones, and their other TV series. They *could* be making money hand over fist by selling it people online, but they don't. Instead it has to go through cable companies, which require you to buy into HBO via a part of a package which may cost you upwards of $100-200/mo on top of your normal cable bill.

    And they wonder why piracy is running wild for that show. Derp.

  • Re:Privacy is bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 25, 2014 @07:02PM (#46845603)

    Because you need my money to exist. I don't need your product to exist.

    Guess who needs who.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 25, 2014 @07:05PM (#46845611)

    I'm fairly sure if such a service was offered in their country, people would not resort to VPN hoops to jump through.

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Friday April 25, 2014 @09:33PM (#46846173)
    yep, I use a VPN for Netflix and Hulu, I happily pay for the service, but if they block those I won't bother finding new ways around it, I will just go back to pirating the content, if they don't want my money fine!
  • Re: BS! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 25, 2014 @09:52PM (#46846231)

    Or is it that someone might be snooping on your dirty little secret that you watch My Little Pony when no one is home? The only possible concern is for people who use the same passwords on multiple services and that someone could snoop and suddenly get your Warcraft password.

    Wrong. Encrypt only "important" stuff, and people know exactly where to look for the juicy stuff. Encrypt everything, and people don't know where to start.

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