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Netflix ‘begins pirate crackdown’

On-demand site Netflix has reportedly begun cracking down on consumers using VPN services to access its US programming line-up, according to a report.

Marco Polo2

Netflix’s latest original, Marco Polo

The crackdown has been denied by Netflix, according to TorrentFreak, a file-sharing news website. Netflix reportedly said its VPN policy has not changed.

TorrentFreak reported the development follows pressure from the US studios, which are concerned at the ease international consumers can bypass security to access Netflix’s US programmes and movie line-up.

They have reportedly begun applying pressure to Netflix to launch a crackdown on illegal users.

TorrentFreak reported a source at a major VPN provider as saying: “This is a brand new development. A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage. This is the very first time I’ve heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to VPN users.”

Netflix’s programme line-ups differ in each territory it operates in. Last year, it launched new services in major European territories such as Germany and France, and is set to go live in Australia and New Zealand in March.

VPN services trick servers into believing a user is in a different part of the world, which allows them to then use local services.

Netflix hadn’t responded to a request for comment at press time.

UPDATE: ANetflix spokesman has denied any changes to the firm’s VPN policy. “Virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use because of content licensing restrictions,” he said. “We employ industry standard measures to prevent this kind of use. We have not recently made any changes.”