US Netflix Is Being Blocked In Australia: What Can You Do About It?

Ever since Netflix went global, the streaming giant has been promising to crack down on customers who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to access its larger US catalogue. For Australians, it appears that fateful day has arrived. Over the past few hours, there have been multiple reports of VPN users being blocked from the US version of the service. If you're on a VPN, here's what you need to know.

Who Is Affected?

Melbourne-based uFlix confirmed to SMH that a number of its Australian users have been blocked from US Netflix. In place of the US version of Netflix, affected users have been receiving the following message:

"You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again."

Currently, only a small number of uFlix users have been affected. However, according to uFlix, this just means that the company is testing its new blocking method prior to a more aggressive rollout. Damn.

It is not yet certain how many VPN providers have been targeted, but it's safe to assume that the company isn't focusing on a single outfit in Melbourne. Indeed, Express VPN is also reporting disruptions. Expect more services to be hit in the weeks to come.

What Can You Do?

If you're one of the affected users, the only immediate solution is to shop around for a different VPN provider — although there's obviously no guarantee that Netflix won't come after these too. We'd recommend avoiding Netflix-specific VPNs such as Getflix and Turboflix as we imagine these will be among the first services to be targeted.

The other option is to sit tight and see if your VPN provider can come up with any workarounds. In the case of uFlix, the company has assured customers that its engineers are exploring potential solutions.

Access to Netflix and other geo-blocked services form these companies' bread and butter, so you can rest assured that they will do everything in their power to find and exploit a loophole. In the words of uFlix managing director Peter Dujan: "It's simply a game of cat and mouse, and this is our job, so let's play."

Is Netflix Making A Token Gesture?

It has been suggested that Netflix's latest VPN crackdown is just a token gesture to appease studios and international rights holders. If Netflix was serious about blocking access to its US catalogue, there are certainly more stringent methods it could employ: for example, requiring a US credit card and a confirmed US billing address. While this wouldn't stamp out geo-dodging completely, it would make it more difficult for the average user.

With that said, we don't think these latest attempts should be lightly dismissed, either. If the company can work out a way to automate the process of detecting and blocking these IPs, it will surely implement it (if only to keep content owners happy.) It's currently early days but expect more headaches for geo-dodgers in the weeks to come.

Our prediction: accessing the US version of Netflix is going to be difficult for a few months. Then things will go back to normal once workarounds are implemented. At some point in the future, the cycle will start again. But we wouldn't panic overly. Not yet, anyway.

Would you cancel your Netflix subscription if you couldn't access the US catalogue? Are you currently happy sticking to just the Australian version? Share your thoughts in the comments!

[Via SMH]


Comments

    my VPN (privateinternetaccess) and US netflix work totally fine. clickbait ftw

      My PIA VPN just copped it, switched to something else now

        Yeah me too:(

        In my opinion using VPN service is the best solution to bypass Geo-blocking and get access to restricted services and within encrypted tunnel to ensure security and anonymity. I am using HideMyAss https://www.hidemyass.com/vpn/r20533/ to watch US Netflix in Australia

        Last edited 14/06/16 1:09 am

      I use PIA as well and I am blocked

        I am using it right now: US Silicon Valley

      Not as of today Netflix has blocked Canada to US while using Private Internet Access I contacted them and they gave me the normal bull about them following the rules so don't except them to fix this any time soon, if at all. They want to play by the rules since they are based in the US.

        I use Express VPN http://bit.ly/Express-Vpn and watch US Netflix in Australia. without problems through the service. Connecting / Disconnecting is pretty easy through the supplied software.

        Last edited 24/04/16 3:48 pm

      PIA has now been blocked. [:o(

        Yep I haven't been able to use PIA to access US netflix for a week or so now :(

      My Netflix is not working, my US Netflix access has been blocked, so no, it is not clickbait.

      I tried using PureVPN in Firefox to access Netflix US in Australia. It works for me with HD quality streaming https://www.purevpn.com/

      Last edited 15/04/16 8:42 pm

      No, PIA is not working on Netflix US anymore it has been blocked and all other Free and Cheap VPNs are blocked. I tried ExpressVPN https://goo.gl/r5Wteh
      which is a success on Netflix and it is still working on Netflix US, I used LA server of ExpressVPN for Netflix. whola! I just watch The Hunger Games, which I was unable to watch earlier, without VPN I mean.

      Last edited 17/11/16 7:07 am

    it doesn't make sense to me from a business perspective. Netflix aren't culpable at all for third party companies' efforts to access international content, so they're in no real danger of getting sued for not geoblocking the content that is region-locked because the only way to get around it is to use a vpn. So why would they, seeing that people are subscribing to and paying for Netflix and using third party software to get around geographical restrictions, try to stop that? They're not gonna get sued and they're getting more people paying for their service than they probably otherwise would.

    It seems like there are some big companies that are threatening baseless legal action to try to strong-arm Netflix into going to more effort to protect their rights. At the end of the day rights holders are the ones who are holding media back from where it's inevitably going - on-demand, restrictionless content that is monetised by customer loyalty and convenience rather than throwing highly sought after media behind an exorbitant paywall ($8.99p/m for Netflix, or $105 for the box set of Buffy The Vampire Slayer - what are you gonna choose?).

      I imagine it's more legally complex than that. If a content deal is specific to the US, Netflix surely has an obligation to block that content from its international users - otherwise it's essentially getting worldwide distribution rights without paying for the privilege.

      "Can we get the rights to this new TV show?"
      "Sure, if you do a better job of geoblocking"
      "grumble, we'll pretend to do that"

    My Netflix has been closed from US ,
    And I will be closing my account down, as there is nothing on Australia's Netflix , once you've had the taste of good shows, I can see a lot of Aussies also closing it down,

      I would hope that a lot of Australians leave it open, as the continued local Netflix business will allow them to negotiate better for content in an effort to increase to more along the lines of the services you are working around to get to. Have some patience, these things don't just get made available overnight :/.

        Netflix aren't a charity, and neither am I. Why should we pay for an inferior service that doesn't offer what we want in the hopes one day they will?

          Yes and you pay roughly the equivalent of what US Netflix customers pay with Australian Netflix for a tiny wedge of their content selection. Rubbish offer, I've just closed my account.

            Don't worry, I probably will too. Once I have to pirate to watch everything I want again, Netflix isn't worth it. Can't watch US Netflix anymore, and AU Netflix isn't worth money.

      My account will be closed now too. I am not going to pay for the pitiful offerings on the Australian Netflix.

      Totally agree with you .thinking of closing my account also as Aust Netfix is hopeless

    It's just another reason why we need to abolish these archaic regions when it comes to media. Especially in this day & age. I just wish I could have a subscription to Netflix & access the same content no matter where I am on this planet & be the same content as everyone else. Seems to me it a kick in the dick to us Aussies paying the same as an American who gets a lot more content, from companies like Fox, AMC etc.. I imagine if Netflix had penetrated Australia sooner than 2015 with a regional version they might've snagged more rights to more shows before Presto or Stan got a foothold. Oh well.

    At least Getflix still works for me, for the mean time. So I can continue watching Burn Notice, Dexter, Malcolm In The Middle, Sons of Anarchy etc that are not on our version of Netflix. I like Netflix, it stopped me pirating stuff I couldn't find readily or for a fair price online or at JB HiFi.

      This is exactly right. I used to pirate a heap of TV shows, but since getting Netflix I haven't needed to (For the most part - looking at you Game of Thrones). If I lose all the US content, I might have to go back to my old ways.

        Yep I'd rather pay for content where I can, than pirate it..

    among the fist services

    I don't even want to know what a fist service is...

    smartflix still works, just use that if you are blocked

    Still good with Private Internet Access (making sure no dns leaks). The day that stops working is the day I quit Netflix.

      If you're identified as a geolocation dodger Netflix has started locking you to content from your geo boundary. I've tried a few VPNs and smart DNS servers now and although they are doing what they advertise I'm stuck on Austalian content.
      Have cancelled my Netflix now. It's just easier to use other tech to grad what I need than to pay for it. Didn't think I'd say that.. I liked havng it on tap. Now I have to look for it again. At least I'll see movies before they hit the cinemas (movie theatres) again. I just got lazy with it on tap and paid for it instead. Well, back to p2p..

        Yeah, I am with you. I purchased USA Netflix, was all working fine until today using PIA 27 Feb 2016.

        Netflix, studio's, actors, actresses wake up!!! Its in you best interest at the end of the day that this content is not region locked. Lock this down and you will just get people pirating the content instead of paying for it, this obviously has the polar opposite effect that they claim these VPN crack downs were set out to achieve.

        Was happy to pay to watch TV (previously had Foxtel), I ditched it for three other sources for the same content that I watch. Netflix putting on the screws, now I am going to save my $14 per month but cancelling netflix, leaving me two sources for all my content that I watch.

        To answer the op's question, no I am not going to pay for the piss poor netflix Australia catalog, since I had signed up with netflix well before it arrived in Australia, and 90% of the shows I have been watching are not on the Australian lists.

    What most people don't realize is that Netflix pays up to the 10s of millions of dollars for distribution rights of some shows. Global rights obviously more expensive than specific region rights and exclusive rights even more so.

    Just because you pay them $10 a month doesn't make you entitled to watch every single title they have ever managed to negotiate a deal on. It gives you access to watch their current content that is licensed and paid for, for the country you are in.

    Netflix US customers get access to more shows yes. They also have more subscribers and bring in more revenue for Netflix and has been around much much longer so of course it is going to have a bigger library.

    If i was a content creator and Netflix wasn't doing anything to stop its userbase from accessing titles that Netflix isn't licensed to show them then yeah I would be pissed, as it is lost revenue for the content creators. Get enough pissed off content creators and then Netflix has nowhere to get new titles from.

    Doing this whole Netflix bashing and boycoting Netflix isnt going to do any Australians any favors. Stick to the content which you have paid for and if you want to watch something that isn't on Netflix.....go buy it.

      So what you're saying is if you don't like something then you should just keep quiet and put up with it?
      Strange attitude IMO. This is a problem with Australia - we don't take enough action about certain things and just let them happen.
      Guess what? This may come as a huge shock but corporations and governments don't necessarily have your best interests at heart.

        No you should say something about it, but also support the local service at the same time. Otherwise Netflix won't have any clout with which to negotiate more content deals, and things just won't change. Feel free to make it known you want more more more, but don't cut access off completely just because you don't have access to 100% of everything right now.

      I don't think the power's in the content creators' hands anymore to be honest. For example if CBS pulled How I Met Your Mother from Netflix I think that would result in less people watching How I Met Your Mother, not less people subscribing to Netflix. Unless they have their own streaming service, content creators should be trying to get their stuff onto Netflix because people just don't buy physical media the same way they used to and Netflix has become such a cultural staple that everyone has it, and if they don't then they can get it at a really ridiculously low cost barrier. The point is that content creators would lose revenue on international rights, but would they be making more otherwise? Do you think more people watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix or go to JB Hi-Fi and buy the dvd's?

      I am a content creator as I have a feature film on Netflix, and I support Australians ditching Netflix Australia until we have on offer close to what US Netflix has. Either that or Netflix Australia needs to charge accordingly (i.e. instead of being charged $10 upwards a month, we should be charged $2 - $3 a month which reflects the level of content available on the Australian site.)

      What really needs to happen is studios, networks etc need to make all content available worldwide simultaneously, and companies like Netflix need to push for this to happen. This would greatly reduce piracy which is the real enemy to content creators, NOT geo blocking.

      In my opinion it is important that Australians do let Netflix know they're not happy and don't use Netflix Australia until it's worth paying for. This is the only way content distrubition will change, is if the people distributing it lose business. Content should be released globally at the same time and be available to all across the world, and there's absolutely no reason why this can't happen. Even Netflix admits they are doing their hardest to encourage global releasing.

      Otherwise Australia will always get content way behind everyone else and we will most likely retain the dubious title of being one of the world's worst countries when it comes to pirating of content.

    Netflix - keeping the Australian media dinosaurs alive for just a little bit longer

    Still working with a free smart DNS I've been using for ages.

    getflix configured to US still working for me, tested with US only content, using browser based Netflix and getflix DNS configured at router level.

    how many cycles until the media companies start going after the vpn companies especially the ones specific to geoblock dodging

    Excuse my ignorance, but surely if they really cared about blocking access to other netflix catalogues, they'd lock your account's access to whichever country you registered with, or whatever your billing address is. They could even add the option of changing the country that you live in, but you can only change it once every 60 days or something.

      That's what they are doing. That's what happened to me. I can't get into US Netflix, even using unblockers with current fully working access to US Netflix.

    That is a flawed argument. If you are paying for Netflix but using a VPN to access other countries content, you are still PAYING Netflix. Their content providers still get the views and reimbursement.
    The ones that lose out are the companies like Stan who pay the rights for Australia but have a diminished membership because people are using another service.
    That's not to say people in Australia would actually use Stan et al (I certainly wouldn't) but that is the perception. The fact still remains that the offerings of Australian streaming services are terrible and fragmented. As a consumer it is not a good deal for me and I chose to use a better service. And for me that service is a US Netflix account.
    If I can't continue to use my US account, I will cancel it and find other ways to get the content. Simple.

    It seems to me that Netflix, among others, are caught in the middle.
    I'm guessing the underlying reasons for all this stems from the outdated ideas of major rights holders, primarily US media companies, movie and TV studios, MPAA, etc. etc.
    I don't get it.
    What's their business plan?
    Limit their markets?
    Make things as difficult as possible for potential customers who are willing to pay a reasonable price for a good service and drive them away and force them to find all the content they want from alternative sources, for free?
    Well, if that's their plan, which they began in the 20th century and have continued into the 21st century, they're well on their way to reaching their goal.

    Unblock-Us works fine for me. I just change the DNS on various things int he house that utilize Netflix.

    Damn, I just bought Getflix or someone lifetime sub for US$35.

      i feel your pain, i did the same just recently too.
      getflix are pretty active on their facebook account. might have some luck there on updates.

    Yo Ho Ho, a pirates life for me. Well from now on ...

    I have been blocked - I use PIA too. Does yours still work!?

    Well it looks like what they've done hasn't actually done anything if we go by these comments. Can anyone confirm that they can no longer access US content via a VPN, proxy or dns service?

    I am in the MIddle East, but use getflix here and in aus and i'm blocked.

    well i think if u have a dedicated usa vpn (DEDICATED US IP VPN SERVICE which is 10 dollars per month) no one can stop that technology!!

    What about setting up a VPN on AWS and setting an Elastic IP (Dedicated) to the instance. Been using that for a while and its free, for 12 months anyway then starts costing a bit, just a couple of dollars. Start up when needed then shut it down.

    Same here in north queensland. Stop my accaunt with netflix went to presto and stan . Together they have a big content i realy supprted netflix , but they lost me here, contacted them but dont seem to care

    Just tried Netflix via PrivateInternetAccess ... blocked =(

      Me too D:

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