Just when we thought that Netflix is about to lose the first fight against VPN service providers that help international users access any Netflix movie catalog (especially the U.S. one), we learn that the popular streaming service is getting some unexpected help from another popular online service: PayPal.
The payments company announced that it’s cutting off payments support for VPN sites on copyright infringement concerns. That means you can’t pay with your PayPal account for the VPN service you need to unblock Netflix USA content.
It also means you can’t pay with PayPal for VPN services regardless of what the purpose of VPN use is.
VPN, short for virtual private network, is a kind of service that lets you anonymize you web traffic, and circumvent geofences that allow companies like Netflix to offer certain content only in some markets. By the way, Netflix enforces geo-fences not because it wants to, but because it has to, as copyright holders sign licensing agreements that cover specific markets.
A few weeks ago, Netflix announced it’s finally going to crack down on VPN users, and it managed to stop them from circumventing geo blocks. But most VPN providers have been quick to react, responding with measures that countered Netflix’s actions.
PayPal, meanwhile, contacted, at least, one VPN service (Canadian UnoTelly), with the news that it’s cutting off payments on account of copyright concerns. This is a temporary victory for Netflix though, as UnoTelly advised customers to change their payment options from PayPal to credit cards, as Fortune notes.
Even though PayPal’s excuse of trying to prevent copyright infringement isn’t wrong, its decision to block payments isn’t necessarily right. Many consumers use VPN for entirely different purposes than Netflix, and they won’t be able to use PayPal for payments either.