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Australian Netflix subscribers get banned from the US catalogue

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January 22
4:50 AM 2016

In an attempt to restrict geo-blocking aids, Netflix has blocked the Australian audience from getting their legal dose of favorite American movies and shows. It has certainly affected the makers of uFlix and ExpressVPN who are of the opinion that this little stunt by Netflix might just backfire on them.

uFlix, a Melbourne-based company which provides smart DNS services and virtual private networks (VPNs) to access overseas content, said that some of its users are getting an error message while trying to get to the American library. As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, the message goes like this, "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again." For now, the content streaming giant has been less aggressive, starting with only a small number of users, but uFilx expects this number to grow very soon.

Dismissing this crackdown fix by Netflix as 'a last ditch effort to keep an archaic business model alive,' uFlix managing director Peter Dujan said they are working on a solution and has asked its users to follow certain instructions. "At the end of the day it's simply a game of cat and mouse, and this is our job, so let's play," he said, as per Daily Mail, having found out that uFlix is among the very few VPN providers whose subscribers have been blocked. ExpressVPN is yet another VPN provider who's received the same complaints from its users.

Dujan suspects that "they [Netflix] are blocking known IP ranges and gaining additional information from the user's browser or mobile device and comparing it to the proxy and user IP addresses," as per an International Business Times representation, adding that they would ultimately beat Netflix in their own game.

Meanwhile, these restrictions on the so-called "geo-dodgers" by Netflix have invited a lot of criticisms, especially from the consumer advocacy groups. One such group, Choice points out that it is bad news for the Australian subscribers who have lost access to almost 8500 US library items and are now restricted to a dismal 1300 local items.

Some of the disparaging remarks that came Netflix's way are, "Rather than putting barriers up, it's time to recognize Internet as global. Regional copyright deals are as outdated as video cassettes. Ultimately, Australians should be able to pay for international services directly rather than be locked into sub-standard versions."

"As our Prime Minister has noted, it is not illegal for Australians to circumvent geo-blocks. People are going out of their way, often paying for a VPN service and a Netflix account, to legitimately watch the content they love."

The much hue and cry are mainly over no access for the subscribers to their favorite American dailies and movies. The top shows that the Australian users are currently blocked from include: The Walking Dead, Louie, Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Breaking Bad.  Capitalizing on this issue, the irate "geo-blockers" have slammed Netflix's decision.

However,Netflix still stands by its intent to lock out the users who circumvent its geographical blocks to access overseas content. "We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy," said its VP of content delivery architecture, David Fullagar, a few days ago.

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