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Netflix is facing heavy pressure to close its VPN loophole

By this point, everyone and their internet-connected dog seems to know that you can access US Netflix from abroad using a simple VPN, or even just a Chrome extension. Your streaming days might be limited, however: Netflix is reportedly under fire to shut the loophole down. According to CNET Australia, a group of Aussie rights-holders are putting pressure on Netflix to cut off access to US Netflix from Australia. Despite Netflix not being available Down Under, an estimated 200,000 people are using the service anyway, something that’s probably not making Australian cable providers particularly happy.

As Australia prepares for the long-rumoured arrival of Netflix, rights holders are pushing to have the US version of the service blocked in Australia. Currently, more than a quarter of Australians with a paid-content media subscription are using Netflix, circumventing the geoblock on the US-based service by using a VPN. However, the head of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association said rights holders are looking to bring this to an end when Netflix launches a dedicated Australian service. Simon Bush, CEO of AHEDA — the industry organisation that represents the home entertainment divisions of companies including Warner Bros., Roadshow and Universal Sony Pictures, as well as Foxtel — said that while the members of the organisation have not asked AHEDA to lobby on the issue in any official capacity, “some of the member companies individually are doing that”. “I don’t know what Netflix will do around geo-blocking people using VPNs and international credit cards, but presumably it would fit the business model — if they’ve got rights cleared in Australia…and [they’re] going to the effort — that they would want Australians to access their locally-based service,” he said. “That is just a common sense assumption.”

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