I didn’t set out to chronicle the war that Netflix is waging against proxy networks, and yet here I am doing just that. Netflix announced just last week that it’s going to be cracking down on users who use proxies and virtual private networks to watch content not available in their country, and they’ve already begun doing so.

If the service has reason to believe that a user is watching content through a proxy, the user’s access is blocked with the message “You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.” I assume that the service ceases to work until the user turns off the unwanted software.

Going after users rather than the proxy services definitely seems like taking the long way around, but Netflix is likely doing it this way because going after the services themselves is a pointless endeavor. The very nature of proxies and VPNs makes them hard to pin down, and TorGuard had enough guts to come right out and tell their customers that they’ll be releasing new server IP addresses specifically to circumvent Netflix’s block.

As futile as the whole thing may be, it would look even worse for Netflix if they didn’t even try. If they didn’t take action, it could possibly hurt their relationships with studios. It’s not a losing battle, but an unwinnable one, though it’s important that Netflix keep swinging.

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