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BACI
01-15-2016, 12:23 AM
So Netflix has committed to enforcing the geographic restrictions placed on its content. If one was in a country with a watered down version of Netflix, and if one chose to overcome that deficit through use of a proxy server or VPN, is that something that is actually (a) detectable, and (b) preventable by Netflix? Or are these ambitious statements designed to dissuade those not yet using such trickery?

Jragon
01-15-2016, 12:27 AM
They could block IPs of known public VPNs, this ends up being done by pure accident on a lot of message boards and wikis because trolls and other malicious users will hide behind free VPNs.

They also may be able to figure out if certain IP blocks are used by certain premium VPN services, but this is more dodgy and unlikely to happen.

So the short version is that if someone pays for a VPN, they're probably home free, but Hola Unblocker is likely to do anything useful, assuming they really commit that is.

Eliahna
01-15-2016, 01:11 AM
Can't they just lock the account to one country? I'm assuming that, as I signed up for Netflix.com.au, my billing address is in Australia, I use an Australian credit card to pay and I've accessed the service via an Australian IP address, from now on they won't be maintaining the fiction that I must be "travelling" to other countries and accessing the local service; it's an Australian Netflix account and it can only access Australia, full stop.

gazpacho
01-15-2016, 01:12 AM
They could start with the really easy method and only serve you content from the address in your account. They should have a decent idea of the country you live in from your payment details. Doing that will probably stop 99% of people from getting the wrong content. They might try and maintain a list of exit nodes for popular VPN services.

leahcim
01-15-2016, 06:18 AM
Can't they just lock the account to one country? I'm assuming that, as I signed up for Netflix.com.au, my billing address is in Australia, I use an Australian credit card to pay and I've accessed the service via an Australian IP address, from now on they won't be maintaining the fiction that I must be "travelling" to other countries and accessing the local service; it's an Australian Netflix account and it can only access Australia, full stop.

Wouldn't stop you from opening up an American netflix account and always accessing it all via VPN, having the VPN stream Breaking Bad back to Australia. The only thing that stops that is them blocking the VPN.

Lord Feldon
01-15-2016, 06:21 AM
Wouldn't stop you from opening up an American netflix account and always accessing it all via VPN, having the VPN stream Breaking Bad back to Australia.

It would if they only allowed you to open an account in the country of your billing address.

davidm
01-15-2016, 06:27 AM
Yes but there would be added difficulties for an Australian trying to establish a US billing address as opposed to simply using a VPN.

Sure you could have a cousin in the US and reimburse them for paying for your account, but many less people would be able to do that. If they combine a check against the billing address with a check for know VPNs then they've eliminated a large number of people.

For premium VPN services, Netflix could buy an account with each of the premium services and find out the addresses that way. The cost would be minimal for Netflix.

friedo
01-15-2016, 08:18 AM
For premium VPN services, Netflix could buy an account with each of the premium services and find out the addresses that way. The cost would be minimal for Netflix.

They don't even need to do that. There are services which maintain databases of VPN topologies that Netflix can subscribe to.

BubbaDog
01-15-2016, 08:31 AM
It would if they only allowed you to open an account in the country of your billing address.

I pay my account via credit card. Unless they van verify CC address payment, I see a way around the billing location issue.

manson1972
01-15-2016, 08:55 AM
I pay my account via credit card. Unless they van verify CC address payment, I see a way around the billing location issue.

Did they ask for your CC billing address when you signed up?

gazpacho
01-15-2016, 10:29 AM
Did they ask for your CC billing address when you signed up?I just checked my account and they only seem to have my zip code. This is probably used primarily for trying to weed out credit card fraud. But I signed up years ago when the problem of different content based on location was not applicable.

DrCube
01-15-2016, 11:31 AM
The problem with basing your content on your billing address is that it likely breaks licensing contracts. The contracts are based on geographical region, not the permanent residence of its customers. Legally, if they can only show Fargo in Germany, that means it's illegal to show Fargo to Germans on vacation in Florida. But if they're not allowed to show Breaking Bad in Australia, that doesn't mean it's illegal to show Breaking Bad to an Australian on vacation in California.

Canadjun
01-15-2016, 11:50 AM
I just checked my account and they only seem to have my zip code. This is probably used primarily for trying to weed out credit card fraud. But I signed up years ago when the problem of different content based on location was not applicable.

Even having a zip code recorded narrows down the country pretty radically. Americans have 99999 style zip codes (or ones with some more digits after a hyphen; doesn't matter); Canadians have A1A 1A1 style postal codes. Other countries have codes in other formats.

BubbaDog
01-15-2016, 01:06 PM
Did they ask for your CC billing address when you signed up?

Too long ago to remember. But if they did and I stated a false address, how would they verify that?

gazpacho
01-15-2016, 01:14 PM
The problem with basing your content on your billing address is that it likely breaks licensing contracts. The contracts are based on geographical region, not the permanent residence of its customers. Legally, if they can only show Fargo in Germany, that means it's illegal to show Fargo to Germans on vacation in Florida. But if they're not allowed to show Breaking Bad in Australia, that doesn't mean it's illegal to show Breaking Bad to an Australian on vacation in California.They will never eliminate all methods of people getting access to the wrong content. The people on vacation is probably pretty low on the list of complaints from Netflix's content providers.

DrCube
01-15-2016, 01:29 PM
But my point is that it's not a problem at all, it's the whole point of the licensing contracts. If you're an Australian in the US, it's illegal for Netflix to show you Australian-only content, even if that is your permanent address. And if you're an American in Australia, it is illegal to show you Breaking Bad, despite the fact that you could see it for free back home. So you can't tie content to someone's billing address. It goes against the licensing agreement.

Which begs the question, is it against the rules to use a proxy? Netflix and the content providers certainly think so. But let's do a thought experiment. Suppose you live in Mexico, but you have a powerful telescope and can watch your neighbors TV screen in San Diego, effectively getting American content in Mexico. Is that illegal? If not, isn't a proxy server just a long-range digital telescope?

Carryon
01-15-2016, 01:47 PM
Even having a zip code recorded narrows down the country pretty radically. Americans have 99999 style zip codes (or ones with some more digits after a hyphen; doesn't matter); Canadians have A1A 1A1 style postal codes. Other countries have codes in other formats.

No, it matters little. I have Australian friends that take an American hotel. Change the billing address to the hotel address, then sign up for it. After it is approved, they change the billing address back to Australia.

It's never failed them yet. People DO travel all the time with credit cards so you have to allow changes in address.

manson1972
01-15-2016, 02:20 PM
Too long ago to remember. But if they did and I stated a false address, how would they verify that?

I would imagine that the billing address you give has to match the address on file for your credit card.

gazpacho
01-15-2016, 02:25 PM
But my point is that it's not a problem at all, it's the whole point of the licensing contracts. If you're an Australian in the US, it's illegal for Netflix to show you Australian-only content, even if that is your permanent address. And if you're an American in Australia, it is illegal to show you Breaking Bad, despite the fact that you could see it for free back home. So you can't tie content to someone's billing address. It goes against the licensing agreement.

Which begs the question, is it against the rules to use a proxy? Netflix and the content providers certainly think so. But let's do a thought experiment. Suppose you live in Mexico, but you have a powerful telescope and can watch your neighbors TV screen in San Diego, effectively getting American content in Mexico. Is that illegal? If not, isn't a proxy server just a long-range digital telescope?It isn't illegal it is a violation of the licensing contract. It is a dispute between two corporations. The content providers want Netflix to take steps to prevent people from getting content that is not allowed. They also want Netflix's money so they can't make the restrictions to onerous or Netflix will not be able to meet them and they won't get money.

DrCube
01-15-2016, 02:37 PM
It isn't illegal it is a violation of the licensing contract. It is a dispute between two corporations. The content providers want Netflix to take steps to prevent people from getting content that is not allowed. They also want Netflix's money so they can't make the restrictions to onerous or Netflix will not be able to meet them and they won't get money.

Yeah, "illegal" was the wrong word. For a company, though, if you're accused of breaking laws or breaking contracts, the result is the same: you lose money.

iamthewalrus(:3=
01-15-2016, 02:48 PM
Suppose you live in Mexico, but you have a powerful telescope and can watch your neighbors TV screen in San Diego, effectively getting American content in Mexico. Is that illegal? If not, isn't a proxy server just a long-range digital telescope?I think this is a pretty tortured analogy, but let's go with it.

There's nothing illegal about this (nor are proxy servers generally illegal).

There's also nothing illegal about Netflix driving around across the Mexican border and looking for TV screens they can see, then telling the subscribers whose screens they can see that they either need to put up drapes or they can't subscribe anymore. No one has a right to a Netflix subscription.

My guess is that Netflix will make a fairly half-hearted attempt at this. Content owners really want this, because they can't effectively sell geographic-based rights without being able to effectively limit transmission to certain areas. Netflix needs to keep content owners happy, because otherwise they won't get their licenses, but Netflix also needs to keep their subscribers happy, and most people wouldn't subscribe to Netflix for the much more limited selection they could get. So, Netflix needs to be seen by its suppliers as stopping this. But they don't really want it to be impossible, or their subscribers will cancel.

And I think the content owners are being fairly dumb about this, because people who get cut off of proxying paid subscription content are probably just going to turn to torrenting.

Novelty Bobble
01-15-2016, 03:54 PM
And I think the content owners are being fairly dumb about this, because people who get cut off of proxying paid subscription content are probably just going to turn to torrenting.

Well exactly. I have a Netflix account and use a VPN to access foreign Netflix whilst in the UK, and UK content whilst abroad. Netflix get my cash which filters on down to the content providers. If they make it hard for me to access that content then they'll lose me as a customer. I don't see how that is a net benefit for them.

DrCube
01-15-2016, 04:02 PM
Well exactly. I have a Netflix account and use a VPN to access foreign Netflix whilst in the UK, and UK content whilst abroad. Netflix get my cash which filters on down to the content providers. If they make it hard for me to access that content then they'll lose me as a customer. I don't see how that is a net benefit for them.

In a lot of cases, these regionally-based rights were worked out years or decades ago. It certainly doesn't make sense anymore in this technological era. But I don't know how much of this is contractual inertia, and how much is content owners trying to hold onto the old way of doing things with a death-grip.

Novelty Bobble
01-15-2016, 04:50 PM
In a lot of cases, these regionally-based rights were worked out years or decades ago. It certainly doesn't make sense anymore in this technological era. But I don't know how much of this is contractual inertia, and how much is content owners trying to hold onto the old way of doing things with a death-grip.

It is a mixture of both I'm sure.

The world has changed while the content providers have stood still. There is absolutely no way that the genie of expecting globalised content delivery is going back in the bottle. That is what the consumers want. If I pay a global company to provide me with digital delivery of entertainment what on earth difference does it matter whether I'm in Liverpool or Lagos?

BigT
01-15-2016, 06:31 PM
They could block IPs of known public VPNs, this ends up being done by pure accident on a lot of message boards and wikis because trolls and other malicious users will hide behind free VPNs.

They also may be able to figure out if certain IP blocks are used by certain premium VPN services, but this is more dodgy and unlikely to happen.

So the short version is that if someone pays for a VPN, they're probably home free, but Hola Unblocker is likely to do anything useful, assuming they really commit that is.

The whole point of Hola is that it uses the Internet connection of the people who use the service. So I'd think it would be less prone to IP detection, unlike a paid service that everyone knows is a VPN. Though, if it leaks data about being a VPN or proxy in any way, that would be detectable.

My assumption is similar to everyone else's: no longer letting you use your account for your country in another country, along with using billing to detect if you are in another country.

It's also rather shitty, as just a week ago they apparently said they weren't doing this. With the ads for their shows, the tablet-ified web site that is much less convenient for TV shows, the continuing loss of content, and now lying about crackdowns, I'm becoming less likely to pay. Take away the ability to share the account with one other person, and I'm gone.

I mean, I already pirate shows from Netflix to watch on my Linux box--since their Linux support is crap. It's really only my dad who uses Netflix for anything--let him pay for it.

Isilder
01-16-2016, 01:27 AM
I would imagine that the billing address you give has to match the address on file for your credit card.


Lots of people who are temporarily in the USA use an overseas credit card to pay for Netflix.. the were cutting out too many customers to restrict the use of O/S credit cards.



If a VPN provider is in the database, they can just go and change their AS and IP addresses.

In fact, if the VPN provider is big enough, they can pre-emptively make the change before officially owning the AS, IP, which means to say they could just rent them temporarily. And why wouldn't an ISP with no interest in Netflix or the content providers be shy of helping VPN and proxy people ? They'd take the money.

There's ways the VPN/Proxy people can redirect just netflix traffic so as to avoid the detection and mapping of their network topology.

These VPN topology mapping services ?? Who'd pay... I want to know cause I'ev I've got 500,000 billlion trillion maps to sell them ,one cent each... I also have 20 million proven guaranteed totally cross my heart and hope to have dyed hair valid (*) email addresses I can sell you (Valid as in they are name@domain.)


John001@hotmail.com
John002@hotmail.com
John003@hotmail.com
....

HowSoonIsThen
01-16-2016, 03:22 AM
This feels like a mediocre Bad-luck Brian meme.

Makes it harder to get content legally.
Wonders why people get it illegally.

I don't think this is just Netflix's fault. The content providers are probably hassling them and threatening to stop supplying them with shows unless they stop people watching shows they're not supposed to.

HowSoonIsThen
01-16-2016, 03:29 AM
I think I may have strayed from GQ territory. Sorry about that. Carry on.

Nava
01-16-2016, 09:00 AM
Even having a zip code recorded narrows down the country pretty radically. Americans have 99999 style zip codes (or ones with some more digits after a hyphen; doesn't matter); Canadians have A1A 1A1 style postal codes. Other countries have codes in other formats.

And Sony Online Entertainment used to claim that their lack of success in certain countries such as France, Sweden or Spain was due to "European tastes are different", while Blizzard or EA had no problem at all.

Their payment system required "zip code" (sic), did not accept spaces and, if what you entered was a five-digit number, checked your address against that US zip code even if the country you'd chosen wasn't the US.

Netflix happens to provide service in all four countries.

BACI
01-22-2016, 04:34 AM
Well, it's started.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/01/us-netflix-blocked-in-australia-heres-what-you-can-do-about-it/

Let's see what happens next.

md2000
01-22-2016, 10:35 AM
And Sony Online Entertainment used to claim that their lack of success in certain countries such as France, Sweden or Spain was due to "European tastes are different", while Blizzard or EA had no problem at all.

Their payment system required "zip code" (sic), did not accept spaces and, if what you entered was a five-digit number, checked your address against that US zip code even if the country you'd chosen wasn't the US.

Netflix happens to provide service in all four countries.

I went to fill p at a gas station in Florida, and their pumps absolutely refused to accept my credit card since I did not have a zip code - went to another gas station. Matching zip code is a cheap and quick "verify billing address" trick - if someone knows the zip code, odds are they know the entire billing address, so it eliminates one level of fraud without extensive data entry. Fortunately, some machines (i.e. NYC Metrocard sales) accept zeroes for out of country credit cards. In some NJ places, the pump did not work, but the cash register did.

Too true. We watched Homeland S1 and S2 on Netflix last year. S3? Our (paid) VPN allowed us to connect to England, where Netflix had it available. S4 at the time? Unavailable, download. S5 recently? Still not on Netflix, download.

What's happening is the local business oligarchies / monopolies in assorted countries - usually the cable companies - are seeing the writing on the wall and trying to set up their own versions of Netflix. (In Canada, it's Shomi and Crave). As they gobble up exclusive local rights to certain shows, they want to stop customers from using tricks to buy the content from Netflix - IIRC, there's something like 30% of Canadian Netflix customers use VPNs from time to time to access extra content through the USA. They also want to put pressure - government or legal - on Netflix to try harder to block. (Which is easy when you're friends with the local government) This may be a legitimate attempt by Netflix to block, or they may simply be making the necessary happy noises to pacify the content licensers.

BigT
01-23-2016, 05:11 AM
Matching zip code is a cheap and quick "verify billing address" trick - if someone knows the zip code, odds are they know the entire billing address, so it eliminates one level of fraud without extensive data entry.

Note to self--be sure to steal credit cards from locals and not tourists....

AK84
01-23-2016, 05:27 AM
It is a mixture of both I'm sure.

The world has changed while the content providers have stood still. There is absolutely no way that the genie of expecting globalised content delivery is going back in the bottle. That is what the consumers want. If I pay a global company to provide me with digital delivery of entertainment what on earth difference does it matter whether I'm in Liverpool or Lagos?
Its stupidity. I have a good friend who is in IP law and the things she tells me about how obtuse the content providers are make your head spin.

They might be unhappy the someone in Lagos is viewing their programme and have statistics about how 1 million people viewed Breaking Bad Season 2, with an episode breakdown and how much money they have "lost".

Of course when asked if it is available in Nigeria and if they had any plans to sell it in Nigeria they'll say; no. So they have actullly not lost any money.

She says that they also cannot grasp the fact that people want to watch their content in Nigeria (or Nicaragua for that matter) shows they have a potential market there.

Its the same with Government censorship; at least those have a comprehensible (if often unacceptable) reason behind that even if they are also broken in about 10 seconds.

Madness.

Nava
01-23-2016, 09:12 AM
Hell, I'm using a VPN to watch Netflix right now and it's not even because of the specific movies and series. Everything I watch via VPN is available in Spain.

It's because if I do watch it in the country where my butt is sitting and where I am one of their subscribers, I can't get the subtitles in English. If they make subtitles available in English and not only what they think is the local language (in Spain they only provide Spanish), I'll be very happy to drop the VPN. They currently provide dual subtitles for the material they produce, but not for anything else.

Spanish TV stations are providing almost all imported content in dual versions (original language and whatever their own is, both for speech and subtitles) - and we're supposed to believe Netflix cannot?

sweat209
01-23-2016, 08:26 PM
So Netflix has committed to enforcing the geographic restrictions placed on its content. If one was in a country with a watered down version of Netflix, and if one chose to overcome that deficit through use of a proxy server or VPN, is that something that is actually (a) detectable, and (b) preventable by Netflix? Or are these ambitious statements designed to dissuade those not yet using such trickery?

Netflix, youtube and many other web sites do have list of blocked proxy and VPN.

The only way around it is to pay for VPN has most free VPN IP address are blocked by Netflix, youtube and many other web sites.

The new government law is talking about blocking nodes and routers of Netflix traffic that forward it outside its country.


If you use US netflix and live in the UK or Canada the nodes and routers will see the traffic is placed out side it's country.

It has nothing to do with netflix but ISP backbone that maintain the routers, switches and nodes that block the traffic base on new government law.

FinsToTheLeft
01-23-2016, 11:28 PM
Do you have a cite for this?

I just tried to connect to netflix from a virtual machine running in a Microsoft Azure US data center and netflix reported it as blocked. No VPN involved and the packets leave the US.

Internet routers can't see information within a SSL or VPN packet to identify the content.

si_blakely
01-24-2016, 12:50 PM
Azure and AWS data centers are an obvious target for blocking - forwarding is the only reason for Netflix streams to go to such an IP address.

Doug K.
01-25-2016, 11:22 PM
Last year at the school i was working at we set up a proxy for the purpose of making sure school owned devices went through our web filters while off campus. The proxy did not have a FQDN, and had to be connected to by its IP. I tested it by taking a device home and using various what's my IP sites to see if it showed the IP of the proxy machine or my home connection. At least one of the sites was able to detect that the device was going through a proxy, and could even tell the version of Squid we were using, even though it had just been set up that day and not even the existence of the proxy, let alone the IP, was known to anyone but me and my supervisor.

So it would certainly be possible for Netflix to detect a proxy being used, paid or not.