Netflix is only available in a few countries, but it still manages to run into licensing issues, due to movie and TV companies not wanting their programs in regions other than the United States.
According to Torrent Freak, Netflix is starting to ban virtual-private networks (VPN) and other services that bypass geo-location tracking, in order to shutdown users watching the U.S. version of Netflix.
The move follows the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) pushing to ban more pirate and proxy tools, allowing users to bypass certain blocks put in place on the internet, outside of the capabilities of internet service providers.
However, Netflix chief product office Neil Hunt claims things are business as usual when it comes to clamping down on VPNs and other tools, and does not deny Netflix actively work to block customers from using U.S. services overseas.
Netflix has various contracts set up with movie and TV providers that hinge on only being available in the U.S., due to other licensing and DVD agreements in other countries, alongside rebroadcasts of TV shows in other countries.
Having users move onto U.S. Netflix without any issue could jeopardise Netflix’s licensing agreements with some of its programmers, and while it is starting to move to more original content, Netflix still needs a lot of third-party deals.
VPN providers are not scared of Netflix’s new pushes to mute overseas viewers, claiming there are other routes to pass through. Any VPN incapable of changing and hiding DNS isn’t doing a very good job, according to Neil Hunt.
Netflix’s NYSE stock has dropped quite significantly over the past three months, dropping $448 on Oct. 15 to $330 on Jan. 9. This is mostly to do with Netflix’s hit show Marco Polo failing in the ratings, but also due to some cut backs to international customers.