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

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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 has confirmed 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!

Comments

        • Yes, in the start of 2016 it was blocked by the Netflix but still some leading VPNs are working perfectly in Australia allowing users to access US Netflix in other city of the country. I have the subscription of ExpressVPN https://goo.gl/K137yr and I’m enjoying US Netflix shows and Movies without any problem.

      • 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

    • 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.

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

    • PIA is not working now on Netflix. In fact, I tried many VPN services free paid and only two VPN services are working on Netflix currently ExpressVPN and NordVPN. Personally, I love using ExpressVPN https://goo.gl/8iJZfP
      as it let me access US Netflix with faster-streaming speed, use LA servers of ExpressVPN which works for US Netflix in Australia or any other country.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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

  • Netflix seem to be all over the place!

    I received an email (responding to a question i asked) from Netflix, and in that email they PROMOTED the use of a specific VPN service. I then contacted them via ‘chat’ to clarify the situation and that person told me i should NOT be using a VPN at all. Talk about mixed messages!!

    Should i be using their recommended VPN service? My thoughts are that if they do block me i always have an email from them as proof they were promoting the use of vpn….

    • Guard that email with your life 🙂 It might be different for private companies, but my gov department would be in massive amounts of strife for having provided a message contrary to their general position.

  • You know, what really stings about this situation is that I was using a proxy to access the US Netflix so that I could watch the third season of an Australian tv show which for some reason is available on US Netflix but not Australian Netflix. I am being Geo blocked from a television show produced where I live! I’m not sure how all this copyright stuff works with regards to regions but this just seems so wrong and I find it truly infuriating.

  • I have been blocked as many others have but I have changed my settings back to the Australian ones and it still says I seem to be using an unblocker or proxy… Has anyone else had this problem? I actually can’t use Netflix at all even the normal Australian version I pay for.. I have tried calling Netflix line as well and they say it must be your network provider, call them and they say it is Netflix. Go figure. Anyone else have his problem and know how to fix it?

  • I’m disappointed with this, i use (privateinternetaccess) and now netflix us has just blocked them, owell, heres hope that they get around it. someone will figure it out and it will be all back to normal

  • My Netflix has been blocked with the Unblocker/proxy message however I use none of these and only access the australian catalogue as far as I know. Called Netflix regarding the matter who blamed LG told me to call them. Called LG who blamed my ISP (ACN NBN). Called ACN who blamed Netflix. Called Netflix again who now blame my ISP. I have my wifi modem plugged into the wall in eth4, from eth 3 on the modem it goes to my bluray DVD play (I don’t have a smart tv so it runs through the LG DVD player). Everything was working great until a couple of weeks ago. Nobody can help me as to why it’s not working and I am frustrated and will be cancelling my Netflix if I can’t figure out a solution to the problem seen as though clearly I am not using a blocker or proxy or vpn or whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing!!

    • I had no problems until today. I have never used a VPN and am also using the Australian Netflix only yet am now getting this stupid error message. I asked Netflix for help and they said to contact my ISP… Why is it so hard to PAY for content you want to watch? I do this to avoid pirating yet it’s so hard to get anything to work and get any good content.

  • I have PIA and I had a US$ paid Netflix account till last weekend when i cancelled my account and started paying AU$ . It was working fine till I started Paying AU Dollars, so i assumed it was the account type that they were blocking. Has anyone thought of this.

  • The smarter way to go about it all with the advances in tech is that the distributor pays a certain amount back to the content creator each time a subscriber watches that content, regardless of where that subscriber is or who the distributor is. The distributors pay a a fixed buy in fee to advertise the content on their platform and then its all in the hands on the consumer. The content provider doesn’t miss out on being paid for their content, the consumer doesn’t miss out because of where they are or who they subscribe to.

    All this comes about because of greedy distributors who are trying to hold onto old monopolies they had structured during the last 60yrs before the introduction of the internet. Australia in particular has been extremely expensive, slow and limited in the content they provide to consumers. They never cared because there was no real reason to care, the consumer was trapped.

    Now along comes the internet offering choice to consumers and these established groups are still trying to hold it all back under their old monopolies.

    Sooner or later, content providers are going to realize that they need to cater to the consumer as the only possible way to combat piracy. The distributors are the cause of the majority of piracy happening world wide because they insist on protecting old way monopolies at the direct expense of both the content providers and the consumers.

    I pay for content and I expect good content. The longer these middlemen carry on their games and monopolies, the more will be gutted financially out of the creation side of the industry and content quality will fall. I’m not even angry about those consumers who choose to access content illegally because it is clear as day, 99% are more then willing to pay the content creators for the work they do, they just get sick of being held hostage by greedy distributors trying to maintain market monopolies.

    It really is time the whole industry woke up and embraced the tech future because ALL their potential customers have already embraced it. Its time to move past doing things the 1950’s way. If they are really interested in tackling the piracy issue, they would completely rethink the way content is delivered to consumers.

  • can confirm PIA is now blocked (all US locations)
    My solution:
    Run a dirt cheap cloud server running OpenVPN the cheapest US based one i found with images is https://my.vultr.com/
    min $5 a month (or pay by the hour!) if your IP gets blocked then you can simply request a new IP at the click of a button 😉

  • I really wonder the legality of Netflix blocking user outside the US.
    The internet it borderless, always has been. Correct me if I am wrong but I am of the believe that anything purchased over the internet is purchased at the destination country. For example I live in Australia, I go on the amazon website (the US one) I purchase something there. To my understanding that product is bought in the US. The taxes go to the US government. All of this is completely legal.
    So now when I go to the Netflix site, I want to purchase the US content as it is far superior to the Australian one. Again I go on the internet browse to Netflix, it redirects me to the Australian site. To get around it I use a DNS proxy or VPN. To my knowledge nothing illegal here. I only have to do this as Netflix does not want me to access its US site.
    So Netflix is now actively stopping me, an Australian customer, to purchase US content, over a medium that is considered borderless. Surely that is considered discrimination and should be illegal.
    To put in in perspective: I travel to New York and go to a bookstore to buy “The Firm” from John Grisham. I find the book and am lining up to the counter to pay for it. In front of me is a local American trying to purchase the exact same book.
    When he gets to the counter the lovely salesperson tells him its $10 US. He pays and moves on. Now its my turn, already overhearing the price from the previous customer I get $10 bucks out of my wallet.
    I come forward and put the book on the counter. As the salesperson is friendly she asks me, “Where are you from?”. I reply “Australia”. She replies “very well, That will be $20 US dollars”. or worse, she tells me “ I am sorry sir, I won’t sell you that book”!!!

  • I have been a Netflix and Private Internet Access subscriber up until today.
    On the advice of our now Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, all Australians should choose to use VPN bypass tools to circumvent Geo-Blocking restrictions. The Australia tax is alive and well in an era where it takes zero extra cost to deliver the product half way around the world.

    I have cancelled my Netflix subscription immediately in protest and let them know exactly why they will not see any more of my money.

    Pandering to the media giants of yesteryear by restricting peoples access to products in this digital age is a regressive idea that will have the reverse of the intended impact. It will result in less people paying for and consuming media.

    I encourage everyone else to immediately cancel your Netflix subscriptions. Let Netflix hemorrhage money for a few months and they will get the message.

  • Well said.
    Cancelling now.
    Go eat a dick Netflix! You will never see another cent off me
    until you stop ripping Australians off.

  • Did you miss the part where it said ‘only small number of consumers affected so far’? I’m sure you’ll feel differently soon, as my VPN has just been sniffed out. Yours, if not already, will be targeted soon too.

  • What you fail to mention is the “made for Netflix” shows. There are very very many of these now and they are still not showed on Australian content netflix. They own the distribution rights to these shows. It ends up like “The Walking Dead” either you have Foxtel at over $100 a month or you download it or you wait 2 years to catch up to what is currently being shown on FTA TV.

    Australian FTA TV is pitiful and it they aren’t showing “encore presentations of their own local content” (For Example they replayed the first episode of Wanted every night for a week on Prime and Saturday and Sunday daytime viewing is full of MKR or Farmer Wants a Wife or I’m A Celebrity” They are two years behind on many series and by the time they even bother to screen these shows, no one watches them so they end up on Eleven or Prime2 or Mate or Gem. They say “oh we didn’t have the viewers”

    I have lost track of shows like “The Following” and “Person Of Interest” because they kept fiddling with the scheduling. I know watch entire seasons on Netflix US (and they aren’t available here) so there are SOOOOO many opportunities for FTA TV or Netflix Australian to add Seasons of past shows but they don’t do it, they show episodes out of order or in the case of FTA, go overtime so late that by the time the 2nd episode of The Blacklist finishes it’s 11:37pm and pretty late for those of us with early starts the next day. There is justification for a full content Netflix service and we PAY for it so it’s not like they are giving it away.

  • Did these content providers really think this through? I was using Netflix for convenience. I’ve just cancelled my Netflix subscription and now I’m just going to go back to torrenting and I’m sure most others are just going to do the same.

  • They have blocked Hola now too. I had Netflix before it was in Australia and I will be cancelling my account because the Australian catalogue is pitiful at best. The idea of content licensing is outdated now that we have a global infrastructure for streaming shows.

  • lol yeah except it doesn’t anymore now does it? Looks like you jumped the gun a little on that comment

  • Hey astroface, I use unblock-us too but netflix on Chrome browser is picking up I’m using that. I’ve changed the DNS settings on the computer but not on the router itself…have you changed your router DNS settings?
    Cheers, Gareth

  • I have my router settings adjusted and I’ve still been blocked.

    I’m waiting for Unblock-Us to get back to me. I’m wondering if Netflix are blocking ACCOUNTS, or they’re somehow detecting users using a proxy? If the later, why can’t Unblock-Us adjust their settings are get around this?

    Is there really a need to cancel both subscriptions?

  • PIA (private internet access) VPN service no longer works even though I do have a USA account with address and credit card in USA. When talking to costumer support they said they have no plans to repair this problem with Netflix. Now I need to look elsewhere.

  • I was using unblock-us too. They provided a fix, but that isn’t working either. I’ve unsubscribed from both services, Netflix and Unblockus for now.

  • I am blocked now too, cancelled netflix account. note, netflix introduce geo-blocking + Australian accounts cancelled = netflix are forced to do something when enough of this happens. I am not paying the same as us/uk customers and being stuck with an inferior service.

  • i have usa netflix. i am an australian who lives in sydney australia. i have a vpn with a comoany called ‘private internet access’ and i log in as a californian or newyorker. now all of a sudden in may 2016 i am getting blocked so yes i just cancellee the americannnetflix account $12 a mnth and i refuse to pay for the australian account now as well as the content is so bad and miniman. such a shame netflix and all the assofiated companies wont get with the times and allow access to be the same in all countries. as a result…. all we are doing is downloading torrents illegally now again.

  • Just use getflix – it works perfectly. Even has instructions on getting Chromecast to work, which also works perfectly.

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