Netflix to block proxy access to content

Netflix was launched in South Africa last week.
Netflix was launched in South Africa last week.

Video-streaming service provider Netflix's subscribers will no longer be able to use proxies to watch content not available in their home country.

Subscribers often resort to proxies, or servers that facilitate access to Internet content not available locally, to watch Netflix's popular shows such as "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black".

"If all of our content were globally available, there wouldn't be a reason for members to use proxies or unblockers," David Fullagar, Netflix's vice-president of content delivery architecture, wrote in a blog.

The company said it would clamp down on these proxies or unblockers in a few weeks.

The announcement comes a week after Netflix went live in more than 130 countries, covering almost the entire globe except China.

Netflix said at the time that all of its shows would not be available immediately to subscribers in certain countries, but that it was working towards resolving that.

"Ultimately, the aim is to provide a service around the world that is more similar than not. Using VPNs or proxies to virtually cross borders violates Netflix's terms of use because of licensing restrictions on TV shows and movies," a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters.

"The strategy is simple - they have a responsibility to content owners to only show that content in the geographies for which they have a licence. Enforcing those restrictions is a Netflix responsibility," Brian Blau, research director at Gartner, told Reuters.

South Africa, India, Nigeria, Russia and Saudi Arabia were among the 130 countries where the service was launched last week.

Netflix will make use of the Teraco-funded NAPAfrica Internet exchange in Johannesburg to deliver its service to South African subscribers.

Michele McCann, head of business development at Teraco, says all Netflix content will be peered off the NAPAfrica IXP "in a similar fashion to how Microsoft, Google and other large content giants are doing".

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