Netflix wants to tackle VPN piracy with global content

Sneaking across virtual Netflix borders could soon be a thing of the past, according to the streaming service’s CEO.

Company boss Reed Hastings says Netflix has a simple plan to stop pirates using virtual private networks (VPN) to access different versions of the service.

Currently, if users want to access the US version of Netflix outside of the states, they need to trick the company’s servers into thinking the video request is from the US using a VPN.

Some users do this because the US version of Netflix has different available content than the UK equivalent, so VPNs allow a greater range of content to be accessed.

“The VPN scenario is someone who wants to pay and can’t quite pay,” explained Hastings, speaking to Gizmodo Australia.

“The basic solution is for Netflix to get global and have its content be the same all around the world so there’s no incentive to [use a VPN].”

He added: “Then we can work on the more important part which is piracy.”

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Australia is currently one of the biggest Netflix piracy hubs, with some 200,000 households in the country accessing Netflix US using VPNs.

Fortunately, Netflix is planning an Australian launch next week, which should help cut down this number significantly.

Once VPN workarounds are made redundant, the company then wants to shift its focus onto tackling piracy.

“The VPN thing is a small little asterisk compared to piracy,” said Hastings. “Piracy is really the problem around the world.”
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“The key thing about piracy is that some fraction of it is because [users] couldn’t get the content. That part we can fix. Some part of piracy however is because they just don’t want to pay. That’s the harder part.”

He added: “As an industry, we need to fix global content.”

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