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DRM Media Movies Television The Internet

Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates" 437

An anonymous reader sends this unfortunate report from TorrentFreak: Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. Some people bypass these content and access restrictions by using VPNs or other circumvention tools that change their geographical location. This makes it easy for people all around the world to pay for access to the U.S. version of Netflix, for example. The movie studios are not happy with these deviant subscribers as it hurts their licensing agreements. ... Over the past weeks Netflix has started to take action against people who use certain circumvention tools. The Android application started to force Google DNS which now makes it harder to use DNS based location unblockers, and several VPN IP-ranges were targeted as well.
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Netflix Cracks Down On VPN and Proxy "Pirates"

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  • Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday January 03, 2015 @07:46PM (#48727369)

    Netflix is obligated to do this to maintain its licensing agreements with the Media Mafia. But it will always be a "cat and mouse" game...

    Why is Torrent Freak's logo hot pink?

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Why is Torrent Freak's logo hot pink?

      Breast cancer awareness, perhaps?

    • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:23PM (#48727543)

      It might always be a cat and mouse game - but there's a relatively simple way to make it a lot harder for the mice; tie content to the address used for payments, rather than tying it to IP geolocation.

      DNS trickery, proxies, VPN, etc. are all very easy to set up, technologically. Try opening a U.S. bank account tied to a U.S. address as somebody who is not a U.S. resident. Good luck.
      Even if you manage to do so - at least you're now 'stuck' with the U.S. library. No vast French movie library for French subscribers, Belgian TV series for Belgian subscribers, etc. Admittedly, that may have been the primary goal for subscribers all along, but it's worth noting that there's no more library-hopping either which way.

      o/t re: pink - hasn't it been pink for a very, very long time?

      • Re: Cat and mouse... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Geordish ( 751892 )
        And then a subscriber goes on holiday with their tablet, and are getting the incorrect content, and breaking licencing agreements. Or a pool of people from different countries pay for an account each, and share the details. Or someone pays for an account on behalf of someone else in a different country...
        • And then a subscriber goes on holiday with their tablet, and are getting the incorrect content, and breaking licencing agreements

          I guess that would depend on the agreement - but if content gets tied to the billing address, they would actually be getting the correct content, no matter where they're on holiday.

          Or a pool of people from different countries pay for an account each, and share the details.

          Sharing accounts is already against the terms. I don't know if Netflix bothers to police that, though.

          Or some

          • by Imrik ( 148191 )

            If they're on holiday somewhere they should get the content for where they are, not where they subscribed from.

            • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:18PM (#48728195) Homepage Journal

              Keep in mind that this would also mean that when military members are deployed to various locations around the world that you're restricting them to the content offered there.

              It translates to my netflix account being almost useless outside of the country.

            • Re: Cat and mouse... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by kenh ( 9056 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @10:46AM (#48730003) Homepage Journal

              No, they shouldn't.

              If a customer pays for access to the U.S. movie library, they shouldn't be forced to use the Norwegian Netflix library when they go on a skiing vacation to Lillihammer.

              You should get access to whatever you pay for, not whatever is licensed for the country they happen to be visiting. What if there is no Netflix license agreement in the country one visits? Does that mean they have zero access to the cloud-based streaming service they are paying for?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:04PM (#48727749)

        Opening a US bank account etc. I agree, it's too much work for something that I can get for free anyway and just wanted to pay for because I liked the show enough that I though the authors deserved payment. OK, back to torrents.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Second that. I love to pay for movies but don't make it hard for me. I will pay for any service if it (1) gives me the same selection of titles and quality as freely available torrents (hard to match, eh :), (2) lets me keep and rotate a small collection of downloaded movies for offline viewing at any time (in places without internet connection), and (3) accepts payment from any country. Alternatively, if a studio would accept a direct payment without restrictions, I would take effort to pay after viewing t
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        DNS trickery, proxies, VPN, etc. are all very easy to set up, technologically. Try opening a U.S. bank account tied to a U.S. address as somebody who is not a U.S. resident. Good luck.

        Why can't you just:

        1. Open a mailbox with a scanning service in the U.S.,
        2. Open a credit card in your own country, and
        3. Change the card's billing address to that address

        ?

        • Change the card's billing address to that address

          Have you tried? Which mailbox/scanning service did you use?

          • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:4, Informative)

            by dk20 ( 914954 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:32PM (#48728241)

            It probably wont work anyhow.

            What you will find out is that the credit cards have coded the country of issue into the number.
            I once had XM radio US refuse to accept my Canadian mastercard when i was living in the US (obviously an attempt to enforce the higher prices in Canada policy).
            The thing is, since i used a US address how did XM know it was a Canadian card?

            • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

              Presumably, they based their decision on the issuing bank, which may or may not be the best idea.

            • by pepty ( 1976012 )
              At any rate, I don't think it's a coincidence that this news is happening at the same time that Netflix is announcing that it will be expanding to Australia and New Zealand in two months. Anyone want to bet against Netflix service being more expensive and the title selection more limited than it is in the US?
            • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Informative)

              by geezer nerd ( 1041858 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @01:49AM (#48728685)
              The credit card number does encode the issuing bank, and that determines the currency that the card works in. If I was in country X with a credit card from country Y, I certainly would not use that card to make regular, recurring purchases in country X. Every such transaction would be treated as a foreign transaction, with accompanying transaction and exchange fees.
      • by dk20 ( 914954 )

        Try opening a U.S. bank account tied to a U.S. address as somebody who is not a U.S. resident. Good luck.

        I just did it a few weeks ago. Was in and out with my account in about 15 minutes.

        It is hard to get an account with "Bank of America" and the like but try another bank.

      • DNS trickery, proxies, VPN, etc. are all very easy to set up, technologically. Try opening a U.S. bank account tied to a U.S. address as somebody who is not a U.S. resident. Good luck.

        I live in Canada (near the border), I have P.O. Box on the U.S. side and I have a bank account in a U.S. bank. I had no trouble opening it, and I use it to pay for many purchases I make from the U.S. (I can often get much better travel deals through sites like Priceline when I use a credit card with a U.S. billing address.)

        So, I don't know what difficulty you're alluding to.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Macrat ( 638047 )

          I live in Canada (near the border), I have P.O. Box on the U.S. side and I have a bank account in a U.S. bank. I had no trouble opening it, and I use it to pay for many purchases I make from the U.S. (I can often get much better travel deals through sites like Priceline when I use a credit card with a U.S. billing address.)

          So, I don't know what difficulty you're alluding to.

          Interesting statement considering that U.S. banks don't allow accounts to be set up with PO Box addresses.

          • by BancBoy ( 578080 )
            To be fair, OP never connected those two dots the way that you did... Rereading... Nope.
          • Interesting statement considering that U.S. banks don't allow accounts to be set up with PO Box addresses.

            Interesting statement since my bank (which was then Wachovia and is now Wells Fargo) did.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        I'm sure that would produce absolutely no privacy issues or anything..

        Not to mention -- how do you verify it? You can verify the IP address because that's the place you send packets back to (of course only one bounce worth, hence the VPN issue.)

        But a physical address.. unless they want to start physically mailing shit to me to confirm the verification (at a significantly higher cost than a geo/ip check,) I can just punch in any old address I find (or hell make up, depending on how well they check things..

    • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:28PM (#48727579) Homepage Journal

      Netflix is obligated to do this to maintain its licensing agreements with the Media Mafia.

      Yeah, I understand that. What I don't understand is why the big media conglomerates put such baffling restrictions into their licenses in the first place. Is it to comply with licensing agreements that they made? Is it truly idiotic licensing all the way down?

      As far as I'm concerned, the general public needs to keep fighting this crap. Whenever the content police tighten the screws, change to a different approach. For example, you might convince people with fast upstream and downstream connections to resell a small portion of their bandwidth for other people's Netflix streaming in a sort of peer-to-peer VPN approach so that it will be impossible for Netflix to cut off people using the VPNs without cutting off a lot of their U.S. customers. Encourage U.S. customers to use location-hiding VPNs, too. And so on.

      The reality is that in this day and age, nothing short of worldwide licensing makes sense. In a world of physical media, there was at least some plausibility to the notion of export restrictions and region coding. In a world where humans have cast off the shackles of physical bodies... err... media (sorry, movie trailer authoring mode kicked in for a minute there), those limitations are archaic and silly, not to mention unenforceable. They need to go away. We need to kill the restrictions with fire. There's simply no room in a modern world for such pointlessness. It quite literally does not benefit anyone anywhere, from the far end of the content supply chain all the way to the customer. All it does is piss people off for no reason.

      Dear Sony Pictures,

      Bugger off.

      Sincerely,
      Everyone.

      • by Scarletdown ( 886459 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:38PM (#48727631) Journal

        Netflix is obligated to do this to maintain its licensing agreements with the Media Mafia.

        Yeah, I understand that. What I don't understand is why the big media conglomerates put such baffling restrictions into their licenses in the first place.

        Do sociopaths need a reason other than the desire for control?

        • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @10:01PM (#48727963) Homepage Journal

          What I don't understand is why the big media conglomerates put such baffling restrictions into their licenses in the first place.

          Do sociopaths need a reason other than the desire for control?

          Well, purportedly, the reason for this is to ensure profits, but that doesn't compute. Even a business undergrad could tell you that with a little rationalisation in the business space, it would be possible for Hollywood to extend their control and improve their profits in the process. Somehow, though, the ridiculously hidebound distribution chain is successfully working against an improved industry. There are enough people with a vested interest in keeping things the way they were (the way things are is... obviously different) that they can cut off their proverbial face to spite their nose. Yes it's that illogical.

          I'm really surprised that, even with over a decade to adjust, most media companies have yet to do so. Even telcos, the other digital industry we love to hate, have learned significant lessons and are in the process of taming a frontier they initially ignored. But media - their collective consciousness defies even a modicum of logic.

          • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @04:57AM (#48729117)

            It's called tiered marketing and discriminatory pricing. I'm not sure which business school you went to, but the AACSB accredited one I went to described this situation pretty well to the undergrads, and it makes perfect sense - it's just complex. They use it because it works best in squeezing the most profit out of each segment. All media companies use it, to a degree. I recall in college, I'd order my MBA texts from India - "International Editions" that were paperback versions of my classmates' books. They were usually full color paperback versions of the exact same textbooks. I was able to buy them for around $20 (including shipping from India) where the course book in the US was hardback and $125.

            With the book analogy, it's a kind of region locking. Yes, if you know how, you can get around it with a bit of time and effort.. even if it's not exactly the same quality. Also, you can just borrow the book from a friend or share as needed... or even use a photocopier for just the excerpts you need. Most people will buy the book, and the one for their region, and that works well enough to not worry about those skirting the system. Like enforcing any system (even the legal/criminal justice system), there's diminishing returns for protecting against cheating it.

            Game makers and DVD/ Bluray producers do the same thing with region locking. They don't want you to buy the content for $5 from China when they can get you to pay $30 or $50 here in the states. Media distributors for movies do the same. Their model is set to get cash from theaters first, then pay-per-view and DVDs, then cable movie networks, then Netflix, and then general cable networks with commercial breaks - pretty much in that order. They have all that sliced up by regions, too - mostly because people in different regions are willing to pay different prices for the same things, but also so they can control the length of each phase of distribution for each region independently. It's not easy to untangle because there are so many different companies involved that sell distribution rights to different distribution channels in each region and then reward content-makers as a percentage based upon that distribution. That's before countries get involved with taxes, copyrights, streaming rights, etc. as well. That's not even to mention that some actors get paid a percentage of one distribution channel profits and a different percentage of another distribution channel profits - written into their movie contracts. Other actors get residuals from syndication from TV episodes. It really is licensing "all the way down" as the grandparent post suggests. Netflix follows its licensing agreements, Sony, etc follows the ones it made with producers, directors, actors, etc. Even with Hulu - watch what they do with episodes. Sometimes one episode out of a season will be missing due to licensing - and it'll be because of some obscure part of a contract not allowing the episode to be shown because of a clause for an actor or for the background music.

            Netflix would love to have a simpler model. Hulu would, too (well, yes and no b/c they're currently owned by Comcast and others that want to spin it off). Hulu got streaming rights for computers, but didn't think ahead to get the licenses for streaming to any internet device... which is partly why there's Hulu Plus. I don't know about now, but when Hulu Plus first came out, I could watch some things on Hulu on my laptop, others on Hulu Plus on my smart TV, but Hulu Plus wouldn't show all of Hulu's content. I had to switch back and forth between them. Different licenses for different methods of distribution. Negotiating for other methods of distribution after the fact would almost certainly lead to higher charges for content, and then higher pricing for Hulu or Netflix subscribers (unless the subscriber growth was substantial)

            Hollywood is a huge industry - and getting them to switch their model is a bit like telling the American public that we should go ahead and switch everything to

            • by delt0r ( 999393 )
              You can call it whatever you want. I call it bittorrent. It works for all movies and tv shows almost the day they are released, it works on all my devices and in all countries. They are dinosaurs holding on to a dying system. The proof is as simple as pointing to iTunes. It is run my a hardware provider because the industry was too stupid to see the writing on the wall.

              They are losing money plain and simple because they really believe they can make it work with a difference licence for different devices
      • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Geordish ( 751892 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:49PM (#48727691) Homepage

        Netflix is obligated to do this to maintain its licensing agreements with the Media Mafia.

        Yeah, I understand that. What I don't understand is why the big media conglomerates put such baffling restrictions into their licenses in the first place. Is it to comply with licensing agreements that they made? Is it truly idiotic licensing all the way down?

        The issue is the existing licenses (with service providers with a lot more subscribers, and therefore able to pay more for licensing) will demand exclusivity.

        If I'm a TV provider in the uk, I don't want Netflix picking and choosing the content they want, and then undercutting me. I want to lock access to game of thrones down so they can only get it via me.

        • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

          If I'm a TV provider in the uk, I don't want Netflix picking and choosing the content they want, and then undercutting me. I want to lock access to game of thrones down so they can only get it via me.

          The U.S. broadcast networks don't have exclusivity after the first year. Why should U.K. broadcast networks be different?

        • Example (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gimmeataco ( 2769727 )
          Example: Community is only available on Hulu Plus in the USA, but its available on Swedish Netflix.
      • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:41PM (#48727893)
        It's all about the cash. Different markets have different rates because they can/can't afford a single worldwide rate. Somebody making 2, 3 dollars a day (I'm looking at YOU, Pakistan!!) can't afford to pay American rates for content. Licensing agreements are designed to maximise profits.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 04, 2015 @12:07AM (#48728331)

          It's all about the cash. Different markets have different rates because they can/can't afford a single worldwide rate. Somebody making 2, 3 dollars a day (I'm looking at YOU, Pakistan!!) can't afford to pay American rates for content. Licensing agreements are designed to maximise profits.

          So what is the issue with someone in Pakistan paying full US price for Netflix? Because that is what Netflix seems to be cracking down on here if the story is true.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            Some Pakistani TV channel might have paid for American content, and part of the deal is that they get exclusivity in their country.

      • Re:Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Informative)

        by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @02:28AM (#48728805)

        Yeah, I understand that. What I don't understand is why the big media conglomerates put such baffling restrictions into their licenses in the first place.

        The Big Media Conglomerates buy and sell the distribution rights for individual properties between each other, they will often sell foreign right for a film to a different company, and as a part of that they give up the right to sell the film in that territory.

        The important thing to understand is that "studios" do not own the rights to distribute the shows they make, these are owned by distributors. Many distributors are owned by studios, and many other distributors don't make movies or TV shows at all, they just buy independent films and market them.

        Distributors do not generally own the titles they sell outright. They usually only own the rights for a certain territory -- a standard example is a film that is funded by two different studios (many are), with one studio distributing the film in the US, and the other, in exchange for fronting some of the budget, getting the right to distribute the film in foreign territories. Netflix's own shows are perfect examples of this -- "Orange is the New Black" is produced by them, and they distribute it in the US, but they sell the foreign rights to HBO and Sony because they know they'll make more money in the UK and France on HBO than they would if they streamed it. As a condition of taking this deal, HBO required Netflix to not compete with them in their territory.

        And this is only "big" products -- most of the true independent films you see are produced by someone with cash up front, and then the rights are sold piecemeal at film markets. The rights to Japan go to company X, the rights to Germany go to company Y. This is much more efficient because each company can then decide exactly how the property should be marketed, if it is appropriate for theaters, or pay TV, or cable, what the posters should look like, will the stars matter, are there cultural factors that make the film/TV show particularly attractive (or not). All of these decisions are decided on a country by country basis, and the only way a distributor in a market can "own" the rights is by keeping other distributors from competing with the same film. That's what the right is.

        It's not stupid or evil -- the problem is people think "studios" "own" "movies", and they completely control how they're exploited commercially, and it's not true at all. It never worked that way, the business has always been about licensing of libraries of titles.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What the general public needs to do is stop watching the crap they produce and just say no, your restrictions are now undesirable, I will do something else for entertainment. As long as there is demand, even if it is in illegitimate forms, the conglomerates wield the power. It is their content after all.

        There is so much content out their now, it doesn't have the value it once did. And they know that, that's the problem, it's why they're desperate to extend copyrights and maintain control, they want us to be

    • Re: Cat and mouse... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jonnyj ( 1011131 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:35PM (#48727619)

      Netflix may be obligated to do this, but the media companies will see their revenues fall from my family if they push it.

      I don't need the movie industry. I have my bike, my running shoes, my surfboard, my kids, my dog, my football season ticket and my church. Movies fill in my leftover time. UK Netflix has such weak content that I'll simply cancel my subscription when Hola stops working. I won't go to the cinema or buy DVDs instead. I'll just walk the dog more.

      It happened with music. When I discovered Pandora, I started buying music weekly because it opened my eyes to new bands and new genres. Then Pandora got closed down in the UK. I haven't bought music for 2+ years. I can't easily find new music so I do other stuff instead.

      Farewell, Hollywood.

      Goo

    • by Joviex ( 976416 )
      Well, I can understand their cat and mouse bullshit with the media corps, but, what I can't understand:

      I live in the US. I travel, a lot, for work, to countries outside the U.S.

      Why am I screwed when I take a trip and want something to watch from the service that brandishes itself a media streamer for me, and content I am allowed to stream, just not when from an IP block outside the allowed list?

      smh.
    • by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @11:09PM (#48728169) Homepage

      Netflix is obligated to give the appearance of enforcing its licensing agreements, it doesn't have to try to succeed.

  • encouraging piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @07:59PM (#48727417)

    I use a smart DNS service in Australia to get my Netflix access. If they do end up blocking it (currently still works fine), I will just go back to pirating my content. I am happy to pay reasonable services a reasonable rate for the content I consume, but be fucked if I will accept being forced to pay for the overpriced poor content supplied locally in Australia.

    • by bug1 ( 96678 )

      Also;
      Australia has 'parallel import' laws which make it legal to bypass country wide restrictions used by corporations, so they cant legally stop us.
      The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (government funded pro consumer organisition) are pretty strong in areas like this and i would expect them to cause problems for the media cartels if push came to shove.
      Using a VPN is encouraged by mainstream consumer oriented groups like choice magazine, see http://www.choice.com.au/revie... [choice.com.au]

      • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:36PM (#48727625)

        Geo-blocking isn't actually illegal, it just isn't illegal to bypass it so they most definitely can legally stop us. They are free to implement various measures to prevent it and enforce it, we just won't be in any legal trouble for doing our best to get around it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by whoever57 ( 658626 )

        Australia has 'parallel import' laws which make it legal to bypass country wide restrictions used by corporations, so they cant legally stop us.

        Enjoy those laws while you have them. Coming soon in a "Free Trade" pact: elimination of those laws.

        • We already have free trade agreements and the laws have remained. They aren't their specifically to allow geo-blocking bypass, more to get past the huge price gouging that takes place by international corporations in Australia where we sometimes pay 50-100% more for items than other countries, in some cases it is cheaper to buy a plane ticket to another country, purchase the item and fly back to Australia with it than buy it here. The price gouging the laws are intended to prevent are actually far more impo

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by dbIII ( 701233 )

            in some cases it is cheaper to buy a plane ticket to another country, purchase the item and fly back to Australia with it than buy it here.

            The above poster is not joking. When the "titanium" Mac came out a newspaper did a cost breakdown to show it, and that was when a flight from Sydney to Hawaii was relatively much more expensive than today
            Apple fanboys please hold your fire, MS and others do the same price gouging screwovers - especially annoying when the software is distributed as download so there is n

            • by skegg ( 666571 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @01:34AM (#48728641)

              especially annoying when the software is distributed as download so there is no real answer as to why there is a 50-100% markup.

              Some software companies claim it's due to internationalisation expenses (making an EN/AU version) which I think is fair - I imagine teams of university academics, linguists and anthropologists labouring over translating the EN/US XML file into EN/AU.

    • Exactly what I was going to say.

      Part of me wonders when the hell will these people get the goddamned message that their business models are completely outdated and have no place in the modern interconnected world.

      Another part of me realizes that more likely than not, they won't have to because they can buy enough politicians to legislate the fuck out of the Internet and protect their revenue streams.

    • by auzy ( 680819 )

      Where in Australia, apparently Netflix will be introduced in March. However, knowing Australia, we'll probably be paying $30 per month (which is a ripoff), and will have barely any US shows. In all likelihood, it will be filled to the brink of shonky Australian Reality TV programs.

      In that case, I'll just stop watching TV shows and just get back to doing more programming.

      • yes I suspect when they open in Australia the content will be lacking as Foxtel still have content exclusivity licensing for a lot of it. If the content becomes decent I would happily swap to using them locally instead of via the US, but will have to wait and see. Would even happily pay a little more, maybe 15 bucks or so, but only if the content is there. I just don't watch enough to justify spending more, 3 years ago I had foxtel for around $120 a month and for the few hours of content I watched a month i

  • by urbanriot ( 924981 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:00PM (#48727423)
    As a Canadian I know all too well how many people are using services to access American Netflix content that far surpasses the Canadian content in terms quality and quantity (or at least greater quantity of what people want). I expect the majority of my friends that are using these services to access American Netflix will cancel the service outright if they can no longer access it and furthermore, they'll stop suggesting Netflix as a viable option to cable / satellite.
    • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:29PM (#48727597)

      If Netflix is not doing it, they risk losing all their content - and with it their whole business. It's not foolish from their pov, it's just what they have to do to keep their business alive.

    • by silviuc ( 676999 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @04:32AM (#48729063) Homepage
      The thing is that the MAFIAA does not care. Are these decisions hurting NETFLIX? Good. The MAFIAA hates the internet and streaming services. I saw an article not too long ago in which they were evaluating the impact of Google Fiber speeds on piracy and they were scared shitless. Any sane people would recognize that as a new market to fill. For fucks sake, they now have proper bandwidth lets give them content and make money, but not the MAFIAA, nope.

      They are greedy and stupid, really stupid. Just read the other day how "The Interview" made $ 15M from online sales/rentals vs. $ 3M from theatre screenings. Of course they could've made even more but the release was US only, so people took to known torrent sites and downloaded it gratis and DRM-free from there.

      I don't think these ass-hats will ever learn and they will do everything in their power to stifle progress and technology. They did it before and will continue to do it instead of working with tech companies.
  • if they start blocking my provider then I guess I'll be cable and possibly Netflix free and will just torrent away and donate that $$$ to the ones that provide me a real service.

    IP terrorist FTW!!!

  • by oobayly ( 1056050 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:05PM (#48727455)

    I use unblock-us, as suggested by a friend who in turn was directed to it by Netflix staff. The stupid thing is that I would be willing to pay Netflix an extra $5 a month to view [US only] programmes, which would in turn go to Hollywood. Instead I'm giving the money to a completely separate entity. It's another case of "I'm throwing money at my monitor, why won't you take it"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's another case of "I'm throwing money at my monitor, why won't you take it"

      Because the MAFIAA's are stupid? Holy shit they are stupid. Like brain-damaged Reavers infected by a stupidity virus.

    • It's because the studios sold all possible forms of distribution rights to a "Canadian distributor" who is only physically capable of distributing to movie theatres. They sometimes retained TV rights, sometimes sold them too.

      Net result? The studio doesn't get the money you'd like to pay them, and neither does the distributor.

  • by ciascu ( 1345429 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:10PM (#48727471) Journal

    At least Netflix push back - I gave up on LoveFilm entirely because they went the extra mile in preventing Linux access (at least back when I tried it). I am happy to keep paying for Netflix as long as they are happy to keep pushing, I can accept that they're going to have to meet studio demands part-way to keep getting content. As long as somebody's not busy breaking Pipelight, somebody's creating award-winning independent content from the ground up, somebody's doing simultaneous worldwide releases, somebody's trying to support Linux [slashdot.org], somebody's open-sourcing parts of their core tech [github.io], I'd rather they cut the deals to keep them in the game, at least their chips are big enough to make a difference.

    Maybe it's just because I (sometimes) can find more classic films I want on Amazon Instant Video, but I get HDCP errors or "device not supported" and think, I bet it's a noisier debate when the Netflix reps sit down with the various MPAA negotiators.

  • Love the OTT emotive designation --- so paying for content but not being happy about being given a piss-poor selection for the same cost is piracy now is it?

  • proxy pirates? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 )

    People willing to go through ridiculous hoops and pay extra money in order to view content they are paying for are pirates?

    • People willing to go through ridiculous hoops and pay extra money in order to view content they are paying for are pirates?

      Arguments over copyright infringement 'pirates' vs somali thug pirates aside: Yes.

      The problem with your question is in the "in order to view content they are paying for" part. They're not paying for that content. They're paying for the content in the country in which they got the subscription. I.e. if you're a Netflix U.K. subscriber, you're paying for content A, B, and C - not for D

      • If you opened a Netflix U.S. account, traveled to Ireland, and then had to pay for a VPN or whatever in order to get the Netflix U.S. content that you indeed paid for, rather than Netflix Ireland content based on your IP address at that time, then I'd have a hard time suggesting that to be 'piracy' as well.

        That's exactly how it works today. With a Netflix account that is tied to a US billing address, when in the UK, one can log into netflix.co.uk, but at some point, it redirects to netflix.com and then t

  • by beernutz ( 16190 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:13PM (#48727485) Homepage Journal

    http://www.engadget.com/2015/0... [engadget.com]

    Netflix tells us that there's been "no change" in the way it handles VPNs, so you shouldn't have to worry about the company getting tough any time soon. With that said, these blocking errors started showing up in the past few weeks, so it's not clear what would have prompted them.

  • So... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:16PM (#48727501)

    So, if the FCC decides to enforce Net Neutrality like Netflix wants... wouldn't that include region blocking like this?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the purist sense of 'net neutrality' it would not. Content licensing is not packet prioritizing. However unappealing and self-defeating it may be, region licensing is 100% legit legally and unrelated to net neutrality.

  • Pay vs. Pirate (Score:5, Informative)

    by therufus ( 677843 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:18PM (#48727509)

    So, they don't want people paying for their service? They would rather see people pirate the movies for free?

    The entire media industry is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. Income is income, especially when it comes to the type of people they're targeting (i.e. the tech savvy). If I were a big hollywood studio licensing my works to Netflix, which I am not, I wouldn't care about stupid country restrictions. If there are people out there that want to see my works, and are willing to pay for it in this day in age, that's a great sign.

    I only recently read an article about 2014 being the worst collective year for the box office in recent history. Reading the massive amount of comments following the article, the aggregate reasoning for this was insane pricing at movie theatres (including tickets and snacks), and poor quality of movies. Everything is either a remake or a "safe" formulaic film.

    To put this entire comment into context, I'm from Australia where we get the raw end of every deal. We often get films months after they get released in the 'States for no reason, we pay more for music, TV and film than most of the world, we have "pay TV" (what Americans would call Cable) that have horrible bundles forcing you into 1 channel you want and 20 channels you don't.

    The faster the big studios, MPAA/RIAA, and distributors realise that people always get what they want, and they just need to re-arrange their outdated models so they can get a slice of the pie, the better. I don't see that happening soon though.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Nobody is forcing anyone to pirate the content... the only thing that drives anyone to pirate content merely because it isn't being delivered to them under their preferred terms is a sense of entitlement to that content.
      • Copyright is a social bargain so your use of entitlement is not as derisive as you would like it to be. We ARE entitled access to works after a limited time
  • Torrents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's why God made Bittorrent

  • realize we're moving toward one seamless world with friction-free commerce.

    There are those who make a way forward, and those who just won't get out of the way.

    Route around them with all possible haste.

  • by XahXhaX ( 730306 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:01PM (#48727731)
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-po... [arstechnica.com]

    "Netflix are heavily resistant to enforcing stricter financial geofiltering controls, as they claim this would present a too high bar to entry from legitimate subscribers. For example, they want people to be able to use various methods of payment (e.g. PayPal) where it is harder to determine where the subscriber is based. They recognize that this may cause illegal subscribers but they (of course) would rather err that way than create barriers to legitimate subscribers to sign up.

    We have expressed our deep dissatisfaction with their approach and attitude."
  • Because their lacklustre IPv6 GeoIP promises me programs I can't watch for about a year now.

    About time, lazy morons!

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @09:11PM (#48727775)
    Funny how "free trade" is not on this level. For instance Australia recently had to take on some of the onerous US copyright laws as part of a "free trade" deal yet the benefit of consumers being able to purchase copyrighted material directly from the USA is not only not happening, but the people who take extra steps to buy such items are labelled as "pirates".
    IMHO it's worth avoiding such vendors who have so much contempt for their customers as to insult them in such a way.
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      What, you find the Pax Americana to be one sided? Shame on you. I think perhaps we should park a few legions in your province for a few decades.
  • Apparently the media companies haven't heard of this new-fangled device called a "router". It comes with this exotic, difficult-to-use feature called a "firewall". And it insures that regardless of what DNS servers the application may try to use, it will use my DNS server while on my network. Problem solved.

    As for VPNs, it's difficult to block router-based VPN tunnels since there's no trace on the device that a VPN's in use. All it takes is a suitable server to connect to, and I've got a selection available

  • Netflix could just tie your account to a geographic region. No matter where you login from you get your country's content. I just think they don't really care and will not do this until they are motivated to. Want a US account then you need a US address. I don't know what the issue is. Seems easier than playing IP Range Wack a Mole.

    • by hodet ( 620484 )

      Lame reply to myself...... ....and I would just cancel my Netflix, which they know and is probably why they don't do that.

  • I keep seeing these kinds of stories pop up about region blocked dvds, streaming, etc. What is the purpose of it again? Is there some sort of competition in other regions that movie studios are trying to fight for revenue? I honestly don't even understand why it is a 'thing'. Wouldn't you want to sell your product to as many people and as quickly as you can??

    How do american studios benefit from region blocking?
  • by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Sunday January 04, 2015 @07:49AM (#48729453) Journal

    The fundamental issue here is that copyright is too powerful. Electronic goods should be a single global market, so the fact that copyright holders are able to use the powers granted by copyrights to slice the market shows that copyright law grants too much.

  • by Florian Weimer ( 88405 ) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Sunday January 04, 2015 @11:40AM (#48730245) Homepage

    Does the U.S. version of Netflix really use a library model, where they strive to keep content available indefinitely? Video streaming services here in Germany continually change the content they are offering, so it's more like a TV with very many channels and random access, and not really a replacement for a collection of your favorite movies and shows.

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